What with Booker judge Carmen Callil resigning in protest at Philip Roth’s Nemesis snatching the prize last month, then going on about him sitting on her face (the mind boggles) and this week’s ‘women are crap writers’ (sic) declaration by VS Naipaul, I’m starting to think the world of literary fiction is going off its bongo.
What has them so in a flutter? I know the economy is biting and we’re all a bit edgy, but is there really a need for all this? I get told that literary writers earn little or no money, that their work is at a ‘different level’ to that of genre writers, yet to my knowledge (I could be wrong) not that many of our lot fall out over this sort of caper.
Cop off with my husband or scratch one of my Elvis albums then we might have a problem, but writing a work along the same lines as me and winning a prize above my effort? Life doesn’t last long enough to have a falling out over such a thing, let alone for washing your undies in public and flashing the gusset so everyone gets a good slow eyeful.
It might be – and I think I’ve got it – that us lowly genre writers on our ‘different level’ are too busy working on our novels, plays, short stories to indulge in petty squabbles…