My naive dream that the literary world was a happy, jolly place with writers linking arms and swigging martinis was abruptly shattered back in March. Why March? That was when I read an article by Robert McCrum confirming what I'd so blithly ignored: the Class Pyramid of British Literature. McCrum writes that in literature, poets top the list while crime novelists and writers of celeb biographies languish at the bottom. Sure, sure. Nothing new there.
But what really depressed me was this: there was no mention -- anywhere -- of romantic novelists. Romantic novels occupy top places in The Times' best-sellers list but they didn't even merit a mention in McCrum's pyramid.
And this week I got even more depressed with The Guardian's chick-lit debate. First up: an article by DJ Connell, who writes that using a female name as an author is 'the kiss of death' and that the label chick-lit is offensive 'because it not only condemns a work of humour to the ghetto of the light and frivolous but it is also ridiculously outdated.' Today, a defense of the genre by writer Michele Gorman appeared -- thankfully.
But why should we even have to defend our genre -- to other writers and the public? We are all writers, regardless of what we write. We're all trying to communicate; to sell books; to promote the benefits of literature. We all agonise over finding the right word; the best sentence structure; the smoothest character arc. At the end of the day, we're all story-tellers.
So come on, writers. Lose the labels and the condemnation. And just write.
(PS - In the interest of all getting along, why not hop over to the wonderful Mel's blog at High Heels and Book Deals for some free books?)