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Are American literary novelists ‘less feverish about pecking order’ than the British?

9 October 2017

‘They're more realistic about it. Berryman, when Robert Frost died, said, ‘It's scary. Who's number one?' Very unsentimental. At least status anxiety is overt here. And I think writers have a better time from the press here than in England. My historical explanation is that Americans wondered what sort of country they were living in, a new, young country, and subliminally saw that writers would play a part in telling them; not just a collection of Italians, Germans, Jews, but a real nation. In England, they don't want to be told what they are. They're quite clear on that, thank you very much.

And they think writers are just pretentious egomaniacs.'

Martin Amis, author of London Fields, Money and The Rub of Time in the Guardian