Monday 29 November 2010

A grumble

Am I being sour and curmudgeonly* in feeling just a little thoughtful that Radio 4's new Book at Bedtime is "Dawn French's latest novel"? I like Dawn French, and her novel may well be magnificent, but it seems that unless you're a celebrity of some kind (or a very, very successful author) your chances of getting this kind of exposure are miniscule. And no. I'm not thinking about myself (although I certainly wouldn't say no!). There are so many gifted writers out there who could really do with a break such as this. But they're all at it, from those who use ghosts, to those who presumably write their novels themselves: Anne Widdecombe, Joan Bakewell, Jane Asher... people who are given a head start because of who they are (understandable, in that publishers know they stand a good chance of recouping their advances) but are then given further opportunities such as this.

Oh well. We soldier on.

*One of my favourite words. I told my six-year-old grandson about it, then unwisely bet him he wouldn't remember it. So every time we meet, it's the first word he says. Oh, that and onomotapoeia. He likes that one, too.


  1. I agree with you Frances. I too like Dawn French and I will admit to getting her novel down off of the bookshop shelf for a peek, but I didn't buy it; her style of writing isn't my cup of tea. It makes me really angry that the likes of Katie Price and co can get their books published just because of who they are. Perhaps we should try to become a celebrity first and a writer second...?

  2. Hi, Akasha. I briefly contemplated the idea of streaking across Picadilly in the rush hour to gain some notoriety, but decided against it. Not a pretty sight, and also it's rather cold. But fame first - any kind of fame -and then write the novels. That's seems to be the way to go.

  3. I have no idea who Dawn French might be. I gather she's famous, but apparently not quite famous enough.

    Any kid who likes "onomotapoeia" (which is admittedly a fun word to say) is worht keeping around.

  4. Hi David - Dawn French is a very successful British actress and comedienne, and quite famous enough!

    Yes - onomotapoeia is a wonderful word. Kids love it.

  5. I've no problem with celebrity novelists being pushed if they're celebrities for actually writing novels--Ian McEwan for instance.

    Where they're famous for other things--Dawn French or, err, Katie Price--it doesn't really seem fair. Not that KP is ever likely to feature on Book at Bedtime..

    A beautiful verification word: farseaut

  6. Hi, Tim. I think what I feel is, isn't one kind of fame enough? Aren't some of these people being a bit greedy? Or am I just jealous...?

    (But I bet Dawn's book is better than Katie's.)