Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Grim Rewards

In the second issue of the online Manchester Review from Manchester University, Colm Toibin reveals in an interview with M J Hyland that the best enjoyment he gets out of writing is the money. In a straw poll of authors conducted in response by The Guardian today (and which doesn't seem to be replicated in the online version of the Guardian article) most agree with his assessment that writing novels is actually pretty gruelling - Will Self is a notable exception - though Joyce Carol Oates points out pretty sharply that
...most literary writers don't write for money. A prose fiction writer's hourly wage, broken down into units, would be in the modest range of the US minimum wage of the 1950s - approximately $1 dollar per hour.
But then it's clear that even if it weren't for the money, Toibin would still be writing, like all of us unremunerated authors. He'd never quit, he says, writing is essentially a neurosis, an obsession.

Which is why, of course, the publishing industry has most of us over a ruddy barrel.
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