Prufrock's Page

Monday, May 29, 2006

My Preciousss Novel

Literary festivals, highly-publicised awards, large advances...all these can only be good for writing and writers, right? Not so, says Robert McCrum, along the way employing a memorable metaphor: "Out of a swamp of greed, ambition and creative writing crawled a new Gollum, the 'Booker novel', trailing the slime of self-promotion. This, typically, was a scarcely readable work of the imagination, devoid of narrative, character, plausible landscape or moral purpose, whose sole motivation was the desire to get on to that fabled shortlist."

And as if this wasn't depressing enough, Bloomsbury publishing director-turned-novelist Michael Fishwick calls the business "a refined exercise in S&M": "Hardback literary fiction was viewed as next to impossible when I entered publishing more than 20 years ago and it hasn’t got any easier. I know publicity - good reviews, some articles to write, some radio to do - is going to be what it needs. I know it won’t get a huge marketing spend and that success, if it comes, will be slow and a bit of a surprise. I know that, essentially, publishing success derives from authorial talent. And that, ultimately, is down to me."


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