Writers don’t need to be paid – read what Philip Hensher says about that…
mm, this is a tricky one.
Coming from a theatre background, the number of times I’ve been told by funding bodies that ‘You love acting/directing/playwriting, you’d do it whether you were paid or not’, or ‘Thousands of people want to do what you’re doing – if you ask for payment, then we’ll use others who don’t’, and even, ‘ We find artists work harder if they have to struggle a bit, and that makes their work even better’… I am not surprised that writers are being treated the same way.
Of course, it’s important that we have a real relationship with our readers; I read and comment on other people’s unpublished novels for free – I also do events, especially for children, unpaid… and yes, of course, I write out of compulsion and excitement, for financial rewards, or none – but if I had a young family and a mortgage to support, I don’t think I could be so lofty and idealistic. Writers need money. Like everyone else.
Do you agree with Philip Hensher?