09 February 2007

The Literary Prize Game

Are authors bound by the expectation that "writing an award-winning book makes you public property"? I think that claim simply reflects a self-serving sense of journalistic entitlement. In fact, I actually think the award-winning part might make you less susceptible to having to play publicity games. After all, you've written the book, found a publisher, and won the prize - so you have the dough, as well as the automatic sales boost and the additional caché that the prize brings with it (you can have "winner of the 'blah, blah, blah' award" festooned across the jackets of future books). And there is something to be said for, if not reclusiveness, at least reticence to be splayed across the literary pages. So why shouldn't authors (politely, of course) ignore the press and the PR machine and go about their business? I hope Stef Penney can do that. (No, I've not read the book.)

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