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Last column in Times Books

26 January 2009

'Times Books as we know it will be no more, but books themselves, thankfully, seem shockproof against change. Neither economics nor e-readers will oust the beloved book. We don't stop reading because we are poor, any more than book lovers will give up books for their electronic lookalikes...

As a writer, change is necessary, otherwise writing becomes a kind of copying out of what is there already. That may make money but it won't make new imaginative space. But then, neither will ceaseless technological innovation, which is simply distracting. I don't see that Shakespeare or the Brontes or Eliot would have written better if they had laptops. I love my Mac

The time when computers were toys for bright boys and had names like Apple, Tangerine or Pet are history. Apple evolved into Mac or Macintosh after a brief flirtation with the lovely Lisa. The original company name lives on in the website title for the Mac. Downloads

but I can work without it...

Readers of this column will know that I believe in art and literature as a counterweight to prevailing values, and that for me, fiction and poetry are not leisure activities but active energies at the centre of life...

Writing this column has been a way of thinking through much that is important about books, about creativity, about what it means to read seriously and think poetically, when everyday language is both non-stop and trivial. And it has been a meeting-place, or so it seems to me; as though on Saturdays we sat on a bench with our books and talked.'

Jeanette Winterson, in herfinal column in the last separate book supplement of The Times.