An Opportunist

On Art and Aesthetics

“What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?” some five years ago the Canadian author Yann Martel – author of the Booker-winning novel Life of Pi (2001) – was asked in a Big Thinkvideo. His answer: “Read beyond what you want to write. If you want to write romance, great, but also read science fiction, read classics. If you aspire to be a literary writer…read Harlequins. You know, read outside, read beyond the narrow can (“canon”?) of what you particularly like. So read read read.”

I think this is great advice for any and everyone, not just writers. For the past eight years or so, I have mostly been into “literary” stuff, be it classic or contemporary. But I have come to realise that light, fast-paced commercial fiction (or mass market fiction, whatever you call it – I mean fiction that isn’t preoccupied with artistic merit)…

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