Fiona Gruber says, in her interview with John Banville in today's Australian
: 'It's a writer's life to spend nine-tenths of the time in closeted seclusion wrestling with placing good words in the best order, and one-tenth cramming in interviews and doing the rounds of writers' festivals.'
As far as I can calculate, it's a writer's life to spend 9.5/10 of the time cramming in the activities that allow one to spend .5/10 of the time cramming in a bit of writing.
Catherine Ford, in the most recent ALR
, asks the following astonishing questions:
Tom Cho's Look Who's Morphing was written, as were all the  books discussed here, as part of postgraduate study, which prompts questions about why so many people choose to write fiction now in the care of academe. Perhaps it's to validate the embarrassingly non-vocational aspect of writing, bestow some respect on the caper, or maybe it's to enlist a professional interest, a curiosity, in the process when none would be forthcoming?
Or is it that academics have been lumped with giving nascent manuscripts the painstaking attention they need when editors, once responsible for the task, are more commonly out lobbying on behalf of their business interests and the country's literary livelihood, or pumping hands at book fairs?
What a slur on editors, for a start, although that's not my main point. (In my experience (as both editor and author) editors (both inhouse and freelance) consistently work under conditions that make it almost impossible to do a good job and
put food on the table.)
The reason so many books are written in the care of academe? Academe will pay you to write your book
. I'd be very surprised if any of these postgrad books were written without a scholarship from the institution concerned. A good advance, plus scholarship money, will just about pay you enough to spend a year on your book, if you're careful/lucky.
Why, yes, I am staring down the barrel of several months of dayjob. Does it show?