Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Authors, Publicity and Privacy

Even so (see my last post), I can't help sounding a heartfelt agreement with Nicholas Lezard, who sends up three cheers for Jonathan Littell for refusing to appear in person to collect his Athens prize on the grounds that writing is too private a matter.

This is so true, for me at any rate, that writing is a private thing. Personally, I can only write well when I have managed to shut out all other voices from my head, to sink into a special, private mentality which is utterly divorced from the kind of mentality required for publicity, and very vulnerable to disruption so that it's often also necessary to remove oneself physically. (Anyone who reads my author blog will know I frequently complain about this problem.)

Maybe when you're winning major awards you can afford to take Littell's stand, but for most writers the need to be a publicist for one's work appears to be the cross we just have bear nowadays...
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