View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
11 February 2019

Will Self knocks “simple” Sally Rooney – in interview plugging his promotional macarons

“It’s very simple stuff with no literary ambition that I can see.”

By Media Mole

Will “the novel is dead… because mine aren’t popular anymore” Self has taken to his version of Twitter, a Times weekend Q&A, to have a pop at the bestselling, award-winning author Sally Rooney. (Who, at 27, has been nominated for the Booker, and won Irish Novel of the Year and the Costa Book Award for her critically-acclaimed 2018 book Normal People.)

“You only need to look at the kind of books being lauded at the moment to see how simple-minded they are,” he whined, seemingly unaware of how “simple-minded” this plotline of washed-up old grouch dismissing young successful woman for being unserious is…

“What’s now regarded as serious literature would, 10 or 20 years ago, have been regarded as young-adult fiction,” he ranted. “I read a few pages of the Sally Rooney book. It may say things that millennials want to hear reflected back at them, but it’s very simple stuff with no literary ambition that I can see.”

“I don’t mean to be overly critical, but in terms of literary history, it does seem a bit of a regression. If you consider that Nabokov’s Lolita was on the New York Times bestseller list for nine months, it’s a different order of literature.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Ah yes, Lolita. A proper, serious Genius Man Book. Not like all that millennial tripe, which doesn’t even indulge in child rape! Pathetic.

Ironically, Self goes on in the interview to fume “I have published, like, 1,500 f***ing pages of serious fiction in the past 7 years, so that’s what’s happened to me.”

Got that? Self’s recent novels are “serious,” even if no one notices them – whereas young female novelists defining a generation are “simple.”

But the BEST part of this interview with a Very Heavyweight Novelist is that it was in order to plug Self’s promotional “Chinese new year fortune macarons” at posh Mayfair restaurant Hakkasan.

Now that’s serious fiction. I hope you’re paying attention, Sally.

Content from our partners
Individually rare, collectively common – how do we transform the lives of people with rare diseases?
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU