There've been a couple just recently ..
First we had the unnecessary and unwelcome unveiling of the true identity of Elena Ferrante. And then, as if that hadn't caused enough ripples, the Noble Academy voted to award Bob Dylan the Prize for Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
So, where do you stand on these issues? Storms in tea-cups, or subjects that have you lining up your support on one side or the other?
I've read little in-depth reporting about the unveiling of Elena Ferrante but, as a novice writer, it's an easy question for me to answer. If she wanted to be annoymous, that's her right. Many authors have used nom-de-plumes and the reasons behind those decisions are doubtless wide-ranging, but the only one that matters is that the author wanted it to be that way. It isn't anyone's right to know the person behind the nom-de-plume. If an author's work sells well enough without their having to do extensive personal marketing, they've obviously done good work, or luck is on their side. Either way, kudos to them. It's not my business, nor anyone else's who they really are. The only reason to unveil a writer is meanness of spirit, or to prove how clever you are. Frankly, if you're that clever, why not use your abilities for good?
Now over to Mr Dylan. Did he "deserve" the Nobel for Literature? For his lyrics, I would say: yes. For his biography "Chronicles", erm ... not so much. I've started it, but it's dull, there's no life to it, at all. Could it be more interesting in the hand of a great story-teller? I think so. There've been great big wide ripples of reaction to the news - some sharing my feelings, others holding opposing points-of-view. But then, there was a weird twist to the tale: for two weeks, he didn't respond to the extensive efforts made by the Academy to contact him. His official website first included and then deleted reference to the Award. Officials of the Academy have become frustrated, some have been reported calling him arrogant. Two further weeks passed and we hear that he's now made contact, explaining that he was rendered speechless by the honour. Will this put things right? Initially I was doubtful but, having given it some thought, I feel it's unlikely that he'd care enough for what people think of him to make a U-turn. So, maybe even the great Bob Dylan can be bowled over - and I like that thought.
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