- Oct 26, 2021
The book that tore publishing apart: ‘Harm has been done, and now everyone’s afraid’. I've read books where people used chocolate to describe their skin. My eyes are almond shaped. Ashkenazi nose though. Ok not cool. The autistic people I know are pretty aware they can be abrasive. They spent most of their childhoods trying to learn rules of behaviour- as did we all, but they had to go at it harder. I get people who aren't represented would like a seat at the table, but it's mostly literary that is choosing to publish white writers accounts of other experiences. Commercial fiction I think story still is paramount. James Baldwin is an astonishing writer and I can't argue that there is no reason "To kill a mockingbird" is in schools ahead of his books. There was a recent controversy in Ireland about taking TKAM off the school curriculum in favour of some colonial African or Indian writers more relevant to the Irish experience. But Kim is not even considered because Kipling is now cancelled, tho to me it's more relevant to the Irish experience in India not to mention gives a deeper understanding of English colonialism and the Afghanistan war. If the purpose of English class is to train the palate to recognize good writing wherever it is found then have schools in the English speaking world gone off piste? Back to publishing. This issue seems to me to get to the crux of the difference between literary and commercial fiction.