Friday February 28, 2020

Off Message: Good writing is what readers need in their lives, not a literary caste system

Colm Tóibín caused an online firestorm last week after dismissing crime fiction as ‘blank’ and ‘nothing’. But good writing is what readers need in their lives, not a literary caste system

Nadine O’Regan

Arts Editor and Columnist

28th July, 2019
Colm Toibin, for whom crime does not pay Pic: Getty

It’s foolish to dismiss any genre of writing as inherently worthless. That’s a fairly obvious statement, right? But not to Colm Tóibín, it seems.

In an interview with the Guardian last weekend, the thrice Booker Prize-nominated Irish author delivered a contemptuous take on crime fiction. “I can’t do thrillers and I can’t do spy novels,” Tóibín said. “I can’t do any genre-fiction books, none of them. I...

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