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'Writers have nothing but their integrity.'

10 March 2014

‘My initial career conformed to my original notion of authorship. You wrote a book, you struggled to get it published, if you were lucky you found a kindly editor who paid you a bit of money, and later perhaps you'd be paid for another book. And so on. In the meantime you did other things like secretary work or journalism to make a bit more. But then, between 2007 and 2010, everything changed.,. Being a writer stopped being the way it had been for ages - the way I expected it to be - and became something different...

The digital age is an extraordinary revolution in consciousness. I grew up with the Modernists - Joyce et al - grappling with the technological developments of the early 20th century. The digital age is just as significant. We are developing a completely different mode of consciousness. So the digital age offers this new challenge for writers.

I get the impression that people are sick of being lied to by corporations and governments. Writers have nothing but their integrity. They are disaffiliated. They can tell the truth. Anything doing that might just get an audience, whether it comes as a physical artefact like a hardback, or as an e-book. You don't write unless you hope for that. And you always hope.'

Joanna Kavenna interviewed by Robert McCrum in the Observer for his article From bestseller to bust: is this the end of an author's life? | Books | The Observer