No more great writers left?

V S Naipaul had some harsh things to say about this year’s Hay on Wye Festival, calling it ‘meaningless and unimportant’.

“Publishing has gone down in quality so much in recent years and the problem is that there is no literary life any more because there are quite simply no more great writers.”

As if that weren’t cutting enough, Naipaul also added that the people who went to the Hay Festival were ‘incredibly ugly.’

Writers – you gotta love them.

5 Comments

  1. I think he’s got a point, only I’d qualify it by saying there are no more published great writers. We truly great writers don’t get a look-in. ;)My tongue is firmly in cheek when I say this, of course, but there is a grain of truth to my statement. Accountants run publishing now, not editors — so new writers who push the literary envelope (i.e. comparatively unmarketable writers) tend to get rejected. Not all, of course, but enough to make me wonder if the best 21st Century fiction is destined to sit neglected on countless harddrives.

  2. I sort of have to agree with Mr. Murning above me and Naipal. I’m sure there are great writers out there, but until there are some profound changes in the way the publishing industry sees itself and works in general, they’re not going to get published very often.I think Mr. Murning’s assessment of the publishing industry’s priorities is also spot-on as far as it pertains to deciding who does or doesn’t get published. Just look at the typical query: a synopsis and the first two pages of a novel. Finding that needle of literary greatness in the hay stack of mundane, if marketable mass-literature is an even greater challenge when you’ve cut the needle in half.

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