Fail Again – Fail Better: Guardian UK Article

Robert McCrum takes his sharp insight and wit to publishing blunder rejections of celebrated literature over the years in Sunday’s Guardian UK newspaper article.
For authors currently in the rounds of submission/rejection, submission/rejection, ad nausea, you might be heartened to know about the following remarks and observations on book classics which sit happily and comfortably on our shelves this reading Sunday.

“Absurd & uninteresting fantasy about the explosion of an atom bomb on the Colonies. A group of children who land in jungle country near New Guinea. Rubbish & dull. Pointless.”

Polly Perkins, Editorial Reader for Faber UK on opening and reading William Golding’s dog-eared manuscript entitled ‘Strangers From Within’ – later to become ‘Lord of the Flies’.

…and this…

“The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.”

Unnamed Editorial reader of JG Ballard’s ‘Crash’.

…and this…

“will set publishing back by 25 years.”

Unnamed editorial reader on Norman Mailer’s , ‘The Deer Park’

“The whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.”

An editorial reader on Vladimir Nabokov’s, ‘Lolita’.

And I will leave you with McCrum’s final anecdote in his article when he mentions my own favourite author, Samuel Beckett.

“Samuel Beckett kept a neat, handwritten list of the 42 publishers who rejected Murphy in his wallet for years. Beckett said that he kept the list because it comforted him to know that so many people were wrong about his writing. In Worstward Ho, he coined the perfect credo for the literary world: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

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