Take Back the White

Tuesday 25 July 2006

Six months ago: The Sunday Times in the UK sends a chapter of some book by V.S. Naipaul anonymously to several British publishers. Of course, it gets rejected. At the time I wrote about how probably no-one involved in the caper on either side had read Naipaul, but then my argument devolved into pitching into James Frey or Peter Phelps one more time.
Two weeks ago: After several weeks of brainstorming, The Australian sends a chapter of some book by Patrick White anonymously to several Australian publishers. Of course, it gets rejected. I like to think that the journalist simply submitted the Sunday Times article anonymously to the editor to see if it would get rejected.
Amazingly, there’s more than one publisher left in business in Australia to submit novels to. Even more amazingly, at least one of them seemed to have read the submitted chapter before rejecting it. However, as the discussion of the caper at Sarsparilla observes:
in amongst all that commentary and discussion one thing kept coming up again and again: hardly anyone has read a novel by Patrick White and seen for themselves what the fuss is about.

In response to this dilemma, The Patrick White Readers’ Group has been formed. Punters are invited to read The Vivisector and share their opinions during September. The tricky part for White’s fellow Australians will be getting hold of a copy: his novels are no longer printed in Australia.