The Booker Prize started a debate, about which was more deserving, readable books, or ‘literary’ books, as if the two were mutually exclusive (Julian Barnes see as the readable choice) – a debate not confined to obscure Radio 4 programmes, but all over the news.
Then there was the articles about the Japanese author who is bigger than Harry Potter – sounded fascinating.
Lately the news has been packed full of stories about books, and literature and authors. It used be that announcing a new book release would be confined to trade newspapers, and the occasional newspaper column – now it’s right there, on the website, even on the TV news.
It’s happened slowly, but it’s definitely happening – books are becoming fashionable, popular, stylish and wanted. A new book is big news, and everyone wants to know the latest popular book. The book prizes are reported on in detail, with long list and short list published, and even televised awards.
I think authors may be becoming the new rock stars – just like they were back in the Nineteenth century (pre-rock stars, of course….), and I like it. I like it because whenever I talk now about being a writer, I don’t automatically get the ‘you’re a lonely weirdo’ reaction. The status of authors is rising.
All we need now is a new Byron to scandalise us all.