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Having mass appeal

7 June 2010

'It's nice! But there is something disillusioning about anything you achieve. It is always a bit of a disappointment when you get something you thought you wanted. I get nervous about characterising myself as successful, because it seems vain and I don't want to frighten the success away.

But it doesn't get me out of running when I don't feel like it. Doesn't solve any marital problems I might have. Doesn't bring my older brother back to life... Literary success only pertains to a slice of your life. It's not really going to make you happy. Happier perhaps.

I do try and remember what it was like writing books in the void, back when I had to worry about whether they were even going to see print. That was not a good place. I am very grateful not to be there. I feel I not only narrowly escaped obscurity but also having to give up writing novels altogether, which would have broken my heart. It is easy to be blase about having a bigger audience. I don't take it for granted.'

Lionel Shriver, whose new book is So Much For That, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven.