Don’t you just love a good literary stoush, manufactured or not, so long as you can watch safely from the sidelines. British crime novelist Lynn Shepherd has found herself at the centre of a storm after she called on JK Rowling to stop writing because she has “had [her] turn”, suggesting that other writers need “room to breathe”. Writing in the Huffington Post, in a blog with the anything but subtle headline: “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It”, Shepherd claimed that Rowling’s first adult novel The Casual Vacancy “sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere … Rowling has no need of either the shelf space or the column inches, but other writers desperately do“, she added. Shepherd must have just loved the recent news that The Casual Vacancy is just the first in Rowling’s strategically planned seven-book series.
You won’t be surprised to hear the (mostly protest) emails flooded in (732 last time I checked). Shepherd, who seems well versed in the old marketing maxim that “any publicity’s good publicity”, continued: “I didn’t much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can’t comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent. I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds. But, then again, any reading is better than no reading, right? But The Casual Vacancy changed all that. Read more.