Miss Congeniality: South African fiction

Calling Through The Fog

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Authors’ incomes collapse to ‘abject’ levels.

That’s what the headline on The Guardian said, and I was frantic to know more. Which authors? Was it me? Were my annual royalty cheques of R250 about to plunge to R50? Less?

Usually I read like a millenial, which is to say I base my world view on the first three words of headlines from Buzzfeed articles on Twitter. But this time I read on.

Many professional authors in the United Kingdom, I discovered, were seeing their royalties plunge. Some who had earned their living from writing books were facing the prospect of – dear reader, are you sitting down? – not being able to write fiction as a full-time occupation.

Star-Trek
Mal Peet, a celebrated writer of novels for children, told The Guardian that his direct income from sales had become “literally abject”. His royalty cheque for the last months of 2013…

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