Books about folding tea towels, part 2

Echoing Katherine Viner’s complaints about reading a spate of books “about nothing” while judging for the Orange Prize, Tibor Fischer says the most remarkable aspect of his stint as a Man Booker judge “was the number of novels that were pointless. Not bad, not reproachable in any way except one: they were utterly nondescript . . . . I’d estimate nearly a third of the submissions fell into this category.”

Fischer skewers the British publishing industry for failing to recognize good work, saying:

Spotting talent’s a doddle. Lawrence Norfolk and I edited the New Writing 8 anthology; we debuted four writers. Three of them — Dan Rhodes, Hari Kunzru and David Mitchell — promptly went on to the Granta Best of Young British list, international success, awards, groupies, etc. It’s that easy if you have judgement.

I can understand publishers putting out something unbrilliant out of loyalty to an author (admittedly unlikely) or putting it out because they’ve already paid for it, but I can’t understand them sending it in to the Man Booker.

(Via Arts Journal.)


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