jo stars

photo by JP Masclett

It’s such a terrible shame to see precious column inches wasted by someone talking out of their hole.

I thought I’d seen a fair few stupid things over the past week, but Lynn Shepherd’s absurd take on why JK Rowling should make way for other writers put the Flake in my idiot’s ice-cream. Here it is, if you’ve not read it, but it’ll be thirty seconds of your life you won’t get back.

If JK Rowling cares about writing, she should stop doing it.

Said ‘columnist’ admits to not having a clue in the first place. Making comments on Rowling’s literary merit while saying ‘never read a word’, ‘apparently’, ‘by all accounts’. Accepting the Potter novels were OK for kids (because children obviously have no critical judgement or comprehension of good storytelling) but it was a ‘shame’ to see adults read them.

As for ‘sucking the oxygen from the publishing industry’, JK Rowling is the same woman who encouraged a generation to fall in love with books and reading. The same woman who created a fanbase so loyal they would purchase her shopping list. Not by slagging off her peers, but by writing stories and characters people returned to again and again. The devious cow.

The claim that Rowling’s success leaves no room for others is presumably based on Shepherd’s  well-researched premise that readers only buy one book a year, critics only assess one novel a month and bookshops clear all their shelves so as to stock exclusively all things Rowling.

Lynn Shepherd, I know little about your journalism, but if this is anything to go by, I am less than eager to  seek out pieces attacking other writers purely for gaining more attention than you. I have no idea if you are a decent yet cruelly overlooked novelist, so shall refrain from comment. Even preceded by an ‘apparently’.

So, my plea to you, by all means keep spouting your opinion for your personal pleasure – it sure ain’t for anyone else’s – but when it comes to the publishing perspective you’ve had your turn. Enjoy your vast reputation for being a moron, luxuriate in the bliss only ignorance can bring, and good luck to you on both counts.

But it’s time to give other journalists an opportunity. They might even write something worth reading.

*Addendum*

Re one star reviews on Lynn Shepherd’s books: I see this as unfair extrapolation. Sure, the article quoted above was a cheap piece of Katie Hopkins style bear-baiting to attract attention. I stand by the piece I wrote above, retaliating against poor journalism. But leaving one star reviews and unpleasant comments on her books is simply sinking to the same level of trolling as the original.

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