Wednesday, January 04, 2006

British Publishers Punk'd: Reject Classics

SUNDAY TIMES, UK - Publishers and agents have rejected two Booker prize-winning novels submitted as works by aspiring authors. One of the books considered unworthy by the publishing industry was by V S Naipaul, one of Britain's greatest living writers, who won the Nobel prize for literature. The exercise by The Sunday Times draws attention to concerns that the industry has become incapable of spotting genuine literary talent.

Typed manuscripts of the opening chapters of Naipaul's In a Free State and a second novel, Holiday, by Stanley Middleton, were sent to 20 publishers and agents. None appears to have recognized them as Booker prizewinners from the 1970s that were lauded as British novel writing at its best. Of the 21 replies, all but one were rejections. Only Barbara Levy, a London literary agent, expressed an interest, and that was for Middleton's novel.

She was unimpressed by Naipaul's book. She wrote: "We... thought it was quite original. In the end though I'm afraid we just weren't quite enthusiastic enough to be able to offer to take things further."...

Critics say the publishing industry has become obsessed with celebrity authors and "bright marketable young things" at the expense of serious writers. Most large publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts from first-time authors, leaving the literary agencies to discover new talent.

Many of the agencies find it hard to cope with the volume of submissions. One said last week that she receives up to 50 manuscripts a day, but takes on a maximum of only six new writers a year.

1 Comments:

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Sam said...

You're Alive!!

 

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