Fiction writers are real people too

Once authors are published, it is as if they have been ordained and are revered for their ‘otherness’ but they are ordinary people who have to shop and work and earn a living

We don’t want to think of our authors as normal people who go shopping for their kids’ shoes in Dunnes Stores or having, like, a job

We don’t want to think of our authors as normal people who go shopping for their kids’ shoes in Dunnes Stores or having, like, a job

A recent interview with Irish author Donal Ryan, in which he revealed that he was returning to full-time employment, has challenged some long-held misconceptions about publishing and writers themselves. The comments section was full of your typical Irish begrudgery (although I’m sure they do begrudgery just as well elsewhere) but it was the sentiment behind them that struck me. While reading, I began to wonder if the root of people’s anger was not at the fact that he was returning to a “cushy number”, but that a talented, successful author could also be a civil servant?

Authors should be elusive, giving us no sense that they ever had a “regular” life before achieving (somewhat reluctantly) celebrity status. Seeing authors speak openly about their careers and mentioning that dirty word, money, doesn’t seem to fit with the air of mystique we normally like to associate with them. Even when an author changes genre, we think, what right have they to do that? Don’t they have enough as it is? There’s a sense of unfairness.

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