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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, March 05, 2007


17 publishers turned down his first manuscript before it was accepted by Cape. Since then there has been no looking for Jeffrey Archer. He's spent several years in the House of Lords and two years in Her Majesty's Prisons which spawned the three volume Prison Diaries.

Since I'm reading 'Cat O'Nine' tales (entertaining though not his best), this is as good a time to post some thoughts about the engaging writer who continues to stay on bestseller lists despite the lack of awards:

"The Washington Post calls me the new Dumas, the New York Times says I write short stories better than Somerset Maugham--that's not too bad, is it? Anthony Howard writing in the Times says the Prison Diaries are better then anything Dostoevsky did."

Is he bothered that he will probably never win the Man Booker? "I always say to people, which would you rather have: 10 million readers or the Booker? I'd take the 10 million readers, thanks very much, if that's the choice." His favourite Booker winner is Life of Pi, "a damned good read and beautifully written", perhaps because it is so narrative-driven. "

I always say to audiences: 'Have you read Patrick White?' 'No,' they reply. 'Got the Nobel prize,' I reply . . . 'Have you read Nadine Gordimer?' 'No.' 'Got the Nobel prize.'"

He still writes in longhand, he doesn't "come cheap", he told me pointedly when I asked him if Writers Festivals interest him. What does interest him is Jane Austen as this piece in The Bookseller reveals.

Link courtesy the untiring Sadie-Jane (who having discovered my Archer weakness) has gone to Fiction Sales at Pansing after a stellar run of connecting writers and readers. I'm sure she's on to bigger and better things and for that, I wish her the very best.

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