Monday, September 15, 2008

How embarassing - Mortification: Writers' stories of their public shame

I was reading this book while the Melbourne Writers Festival was on.

Mortification: Writers' stories of their public shame (ed Robin Robertson) provides a sort of alternate view of such events. It basically details in a funny and hilarious manner what authors have to go through in the name of publicity and promotion.

There are some stories from big name marque writers such as Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Coe, Julian Barnes, Rick Moody and Chuck Palahniuk.

There are some real laugh out moments here, with especially
mortifying stories from:
  • the humiliation of flying all the way over to do a book reading in front of one person....the event organiser
  • the dreaded media interview where the authors gets slotted in to fill the 'cultural' moment and immediately misnamed.
  • book signing at inappropriate venues.
This is definitely a book to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon over coffee.

And my god, the poets really do drink - see for example David Harsent alcohol infused reading. Nearly every mortifying event told by a poet involved alcohol.

4 comments:

tseen said...

This sounds like a great holiday read - wish I'd had it with me in north Qld (though that wasn't really a holiday - it was work...just with beaches and tourist towns).

What I'd also like to see is a compilation of "Worst Behaved Writers" - I've heard some (sotto voce) anecdotes about Writers' Fests and book launches/signings. It'd be grand if a lit.reviewer from the NY Times or similar put something together...!

tseen said...

Just found this book on bookmooch! Hahhah!

Book Boy said...

Oh i think we could do a little book on worst behaved conference presenters?

Actually, prob enough for 2-3 books right!

Bookmooch it Tseen!

tseen said...

Oh i think we could do a little book on worst behaved conference presenters?

I'd love to do an ongoing entry in Academia 101 about this - seriously. I've been to enough (and convened enough) confs that this might work. I'd get others to feed the post, too.

No naming names, though, as that'd probably land us in hot water...will drop you a line via email.

Just received Mortification from a UK bookmoocher - it's even a signed copy! :P