Friday, September 09, 2005

Writers and Literary Success

Came across this interesting opinion piece "Coetzee and Costello" by Nilanjan S Roy. In her piece, she ponders over the question of defining success for a writer, and if one found success, how to deal with it. She says:

“Success” is an increasingly contentious term in literary circles. Should you judge a writer’s work by the size of her audience, the number of prizes she’s won, the number of column inches she commands?

Of course not, and yet to ignore the demands of success is to ignore the fact that publishing itself has changed irrevocably in this century. Can authors be manufactured?

Look around you; from the kings of self-help sagas to celeb-lit all the way up to the buffed products of creative writing courses, programmed to turn out smooth, perfect, short stories and novels at the touch of a button, the assembly line is working at speed.

Through the example of Coetzee, she shows that "the only proper response an author can offer in the age of the soundbyte and the seminar circuit is to put forward his fictions instead of himself, and let them do the talking."


bibliobibuli said...

This piece was so delicious - I was going to blog it myself! Great minds, hey! Think it also shows that we were both googling 'Booker shortlist' before the news came through.

Reminds me I haven't read Elizabeth Costello but must, as i love Coetzee.

Zafar Anjum said...

Yeah, I haven't read Elizabeth Costello too. But it is on my list.