Authors in a changing world
‘Any author who’s been in the business longer than five years can tell you that we’ve had to change our professional practices in response to the transformed circumstances in the industry.’ This week the results of an extensive survey of over 1000 Australian authors assessing the impact on authorship of changing circumstances in the book industry were published by Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics. Sophie Masson considers the findings.
Diabolus In Festum
‘It is the subtle duty of literary festivals and their variations to assure writers, with a vague but potent authority, that they are – despite their knowing self-doubts and anxieties – “writers”.’ Novelist Luke Carman on the festival circuit.’
I am not here to pander
‘I don’t understand the West and the Western reader’s reading tastes. What I write, is what makes my blood bubble and boil. As the years advance and one’s exposure to readers increases, a writer’s vision and consideration inevitably undergo changes. I came to the world, but not to pander to the world. I write, but not to pander to the reader.’
26 June 2015 | Wallpaper Ecstasy
It’s always interesting, when you have a big investment in the performance of literary titles in the marketplace, to see how completely, and constantly, the marketplace disappoints your expectations. The current craze for adult colouring books is a good example. Books for adults to colour in! Books without words! What a relief!
Perumal Murugan and the Politics of Literary Oppression
The 48-year-old Tamil language writer from India, Perumal Murugan, could never have imagined that he would have to draw an end to his literary career with a public announcement to the effect that the writer in him had died… Murugan wrote six novels, four collections of short stories, and four of poetry, before abruptly declaring himself dead as a writer.
On novelists and poets
The prejudice against poetry goes deep, and it isn’t simply a matter of it being ‘difficult to read’. I have often heard this criticism levelled at literary novels too – ‘it’s difficult to read’. What actually rises before me at this moment is the phrase, ‘the market says no’, delivered in the same self-righteous whine that David Walliams uses in Little Britain to defer to the authority of his computer. But deeper than the sense that the poets are trying to put one over their readers is the assumption that they are bludgers as well as con artists, and therefore have no right to be in the marketplace at all.
On The Stella Prize
If I were a novelist longlisted, or shortlisted, for the Stella Prize, and I lost out to a historian, I would wonder at the criteria that had been at work in deciding the award. If I were a historian and I lost to a novelist, I think my hackles would be raised at the possible implication that the imaginative penetration of the writer of fiction was once again being placed above the interpretive powers of the historian.
Editor’s Cut: Notes on the Chinese publishing industry
China and Australia are roughly the same size, but with nearly 100 times our population, distribution of books in China is made easier by the simple fact of greater population density. In poor and rural areas, there can be difficulty reaching customers, but on the whole the transport systems seem much better integrated than in Australia. Around 410 000 new titles are published each year, so attracting attention is a difficult task.
The New Universal
After publishing five or six of these books, I realised they had something in common. Yes they were all written by women – yes they were all written in the first person – and like practically all books and films of their time, they included writing about sex. (Since these first-person narratives were written by women, this necessarily meant that the books included narrative first-person writing about sex by a woman, a fact that tended to obscure practically everything else, but more on this later.)