Dear Ms Keith,
You say, "The self-righteous and arrogant puffery of the assorted literati to whom you gave publicity in your headlines and articles on Bookstart really cannot go unchallenged." Well, nor can ignorance. Let me put you right on two aspects, since to tackle you on every point would take too long and I've got books to write, a veritable fortune to be made.
First, you refer to the "amount of money" made by authors and publishers and ask us to declare our financial interest. I would like to tell you how little I earned from the sale of books last year but a) I have lost my magnifying glass and b) I'd be ashamed. Last time the Society of Authors did a survey of members, the figures were shocking. More than two thirds earn less than half the national average, for example; half earn less than the statutory minimum wage. Since then, we've had a recession and enormous price-cutting, slashing author incomes for almost everyone. So, Ms Keith, "financial interest"? Don't Make Me Larf. You have no idea. You. Just. Have. No. Idea.
Second, who are these children "patronisingly thought to be in need" of books? All children are in need of books. True, some parents are less able to buy them - which is a fact, not patronising - and if there was a way to get books to those families, I'd vote for it. But the Bookstart scheme, by giving books to all children, is therefore so far from being patronising that I wonder what dictionary you used when you chose the word.
Maybe, Ms Keith, you should read more books. Would you like a free one? I can't really afford to do this too often but I'd happily make an exception for you. If that's not too self-righteous, arrogant, or patronising.
Very Crabbit of Edinburgh
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Dear Ms Keith - Nicola Morgan
I have been patiently waiting till today. Well, not very patiently, actually. It's just that I really wanted to shout a little bit about that silly letter in the Observer. (Scroll down to the one from Ann Keith.) Many people have already objected to what was in it and my message feels a tad out-dated, but 11th January is my allotted date to speak out on ABBA, so I kept a lid on it. Now, I'd like to reply to Ms Keith and set her straight.