Chris Cleave “I was the last generation of writers given one chance; the generation before had two chances; the generation now doesn’t have a chance… More writers need to celebrate new writers: This is my protege, I want you to read their books. In music, artists feature less well-known artists on their album, to bring people on – they need help. I’ve never seen an author pick up a major prize and say, Now you are listening to me, you should read X, Y and Z.”
[in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, July 7, 2014]
He called on established authors to support each other, particularly newcomers, and to turn away from the selfishness he sees in the business now. “Established authors are starting to develop a real career mentality. There’s a lot of selfishness, a lot of people have lost sight of the fact that writing should be a vocation, not a career. You have to leave it [the world of books] better than you found it.
“The best thing we can do if we love the novel is to nurture it and accept there are people who will write it better than us. Everywhere else, one accepts that we stand on the shoulders of others.”
This is controversial stuff from Cleave as publisher Hachette continues its dispute with Amazon about terms, with authors splitting into pro- and anti-Amazon groups. So far the focus has been on publisher v retailer. Good for him, for sticking his head above the parapet and looking at the bigger picture. Cleave has written three novels, the most recent is Gold published in 2012. Little Bee, his second, was published in 2008. His debut novel was the award-winning Incendiary. To visit Chris Cleave’s website, click here.
For more about the Desmond Elliott Prize, click here.
Click here to read an article from The Independent about Eimear McBride winning the 2014 Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction with her debut novel A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.
‘Gold’ by Chris Cleave [UK: Sceptre]
If you agree with Chris Cleave, perhaps you will agree with:-
Natasha Carthew – if it feels right, write outdoors
Joanne Harris – I’ve always read, and I’ve always written
Hanif Kureishi – writing is an art, but it is also a business
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
I agree with @chriscleave that established #writers should support new authors http://wp.me/p5gEM4-18v via @SandraDanby