Wednesday, July 19, 2006
We all love a set up and last weekend the Australian Newspaper pulled off an absolute doozy. For those who don't read the Murdoch press, last weekend the Review section of said paper published a story based on a stunt they pulled on fourteen of Australia's top book publishers. Some time ago they were sent chapter three of Patrick White's award winning novel Eye of the Storm. When I say "award winning", I don't mean just any award but the Nobel Prize for Literature, so even an addled dilettante like yours truly thinks he may have smelt a rat. No-one in the world writes like Patrick White. No-on else would really want to, would they? I love his endless samba with the English language, don't get me wrong, but like most Australians it's Voss we're thinking of when we talk about a Patrck White story. Alarm bells should have gone off, but of the fourteen publishers sent the (anonymous) third chapter, only two were smart (or unprofessional) enough not to reply, while the other twelve sent rejections ranging from pithy to downright condescending. One even suggested the author (did I mention he won the Nobel Prize for Literature?) buy a how-to on writing fiction. When said stewards of this parched island's literary culture were confronted with the rather brazen ruse, one reacted along the lines of I never f.....ing liked White anyway. Another that we are supposing there are 400 Patrick Whites out there right now writing. How would he know?
Posted by Justin Lowe at 6:20 pm