Thursday, February 16, 2006

Making a novelty of youth

spiked-culture Article Making a novelty of youth Here's an article from Spiked online about young novelists which makes essentially the following point: "The novel has not yet followed the pop song into the Fame Academy or Pop Idol reality TV cringe-arena (admittedly, shoving wannabe storytellers in front of computer screens and having them read chapters out weekly to a panellist of judges before being voted off by text-message may not make such enticing viewing). Nevertheless, we are starting to see a rise in the celebrity author, with Zadie Smith gracing the pages of OK and Vogue, and a press that is thrilled to announce an 18-year-old as a shining new hope for British literature but distinctly less enthusiastic about bringing the pensioner's 30-years worth slog of a book to public attention." The article goes on to describe a fairly well-known practice (I first heard of it in connection with Doris Lessing): "Andrew Nurnberg, a leading literary agent, offers an anecdote as proof of this practice. Last week, he presented a book for one of his clients to various top publishers, but presented it under a pseudonym, as (for undisclosed reasons) he wanted to safeguard the author's identity. One of the leading houses said that they were unable to make an offer on the book without knowing the author's real identity - 'because of promotional necessitude'. " Don't you just love that phrase, "promotional necessitude"? One to remember and bring out for special occasions.