Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Even though it is more than six months since we launched, our manifesto is still causing a few ripples. The crime writer Steve Mosby had a pop at us the other day, accusing us of all manner of heinous crimes.
I've already suggested to Steve that if spends that much time thinking about the Curzon Group, he should probably get out more -- and he's a decent enougyh bloke to accept that point.
Still, I thought I should clear up a couple of misconceptions about what this group is all about.
First, we're not telling people what to read, as a few bloggers seem to imagine. Even leaving aside the ridiculousness of imagining anyone would listen (are there people browsing through Waterstone's thinking, nah, I won't buy that book because the Curzon Group won't like it?), it just doesn't follow. If Gary Rhodes writes a book on British cookery, he's not saying don't eat pasta or sushi, and no one would imagine he is. He's just saying here's a tradition of our own cooking you might like to explore.
Neither does promoting British thrillers - and our own in particular - mean we are 'attacking' books from other countries.
For example, if the Malaysia Tourist Board runs ads suggesting you take a holiday in Malaysia, they aren’t having a go at Thailand or Indonesia. They are just suggesting Malaysia is a nice place to visit, and you might like to have a think about it.
Or if the Invest in France Agency promotes building factories in France, they aren’t declaring war on Germany or Spain – just drawing attention to the virtues of their own country.
So it is just bonkers to say we are telling people what to read, or suggesting other thrillers (or indeed books) aren’t good as well. We do think that some of the big American names – Patterson, Brown etc – are over-hyped, over-promoted rubbish. And we do think there needs to be more space for British thrillers. But, of course, there are some great American thrillers out there, as there are from Europe, and elsewhere. There are some great British thrillers as well, although they don’t (in my opinion) come from the same tradition we’re talking about.
I appreciate that some people don’t like the kind of books we like, and obviously that’s fair enough. You may also think we aren’t worthy to polish the boots of the writers we admire, and that’s a fair opinion as well.
But I don't think the Group needs to apologise for promoting a certain style of writing that we all admire.