Sunday, 15 February 2009

Crusaders and the Exotic North East

The website of the non-fiction-specialising literary agency Andrew Lownie seems to like to run occasional vox-pop commentaries on the state of UK publishing, and this month they've invited a number of editors to prognosticate about what sort of books might work in the trade during 2009. The results are interesting, and reflect an increasingly familiar debate about whether Realism or Escapism is the dominant cultural/creative response to Hard Times. Some believe we will all want to get serious and austere now, to rediscover lost values, tool ourselves up for possible future hardship, and ensure that we are never fooled again. Others are quite sure we will all continue to dodge the dreary stuff and cling on to our natural capacity for foolishness...
And where does your correspondent come into any of this? Well, by way of the following contribution from Sarah Norman, editor at Atlantic Books, shortly after she has considered a few of the Escapist options and expressed high hopes for a forthcoming and seemingly fantastical Atlantic novel entitled Girl with Glass Feet:
"For the past few years the public have also been embracing some significant new literary voices from around the world, but I wonder whether the success of novels like Ross Raisin's God's Own Country and Richard T. Kelly's Crusaders – in which the regional British setting is so integral to the narrative – are a sign that we're beginning to find what's closer to home exotic and intriguing again."
Well, if so, then that would seem to chime with Stuart Evers' observations on the Guardian Book Blog as mentioned below. In truth, I am perhaps a tad fortunate if Crusaders is rated a 'success' in the company of Ross Raisin's acclaimed debut novel, for which, if I heard right, he was paid a six-figure advance by the publisher, and duly went on to earn them and himself a couple of highly rated literary prizes as well as a few other nominations. I can claim no such distinctions but, still, if anybody reckons I fit this particular cap (if only for the purpose of debate) then for sure I will wear it, for sure and no worries...

2 comments:

Vulcan's said...

Get the Vulcan's Engine reference,Rich?
Not, I know, the correct way to attempt renewing relations, but...

James

Richard T Kelly said...

I suppose it depends whether we're talking the Kawasaki bike or 'The Duchess of Malfi'... Neither of which are experiences I've ever shared with another... Give us another clue eh pal?