Friday, February 23, 2007

The Greatest Living Joke

Well, here's one game you won't catch the Bitch joining in: Who is the greatest living British author? (Guardian, today.) And here are the comments which best echo the Bitch's thoughts on the matter:

JG Ballard:
This is one of those questions that makes one suspect we are in the trough of the literary wave.

Louise Doughty:
The title of "Britain's greatest living author" is a deeply silly moniker to give to anyone, and probably the kiss of death. Amis was lionised in the 80s, but that made it inevitable that people would turn on him - remember all that absurd stuff about his teeth. Getting the crown should strike fear into the heart of any author. I prefer to think about great books rather than great writers... The need to identify "great writers" is a boy thing... In the end it is not for us to identify the great writers. We don't have any sense of perspective. Kafka published virtually nothing in his lifetime, while Pearl S Buck won the Nobel prize for literature.
Because they end the piece with Louise Doughty's contribution, you suspect the Guardian agrees with her, and that their tongue is firmly in their cheek. After all, the article is actually titled Who is the greatest of them all? and we all know who asked a similar question, and what happened to her.
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