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Thursday, May 4, 2023

'Making ordinary into extraordinary'


“The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make ordinary simple words do extraordinary things. To use the language that we all use and to make amazing things occur.” Graham Swift

Born in London on this date in 1949, Swift's first novel, The Sweet Shop Owner, was published in 1980, and his subsequent works have won much praise and many awards. Waterland, in particular, was one of the finalists for the prestigious Booker Prize.   Both Waterland and his book Last Orders also have been made into well-received movies.

In the 20-teens Swift made news for his comments that e-books are not something authors should support or be happy about and spoke on behalf of authors' rights.  “Unfortunately writers take a very small part of the profit on their books, and I think in the e-book world there is a real danger they will take even less, unless they are vigilant and robust about protecting their own interests,” he noted.      

Swift is a meticulous and deliberate writer and decries those who say he writes too slowly.

“It can be dismaying . . . for a novelist to compare the slowness of the writing with the speed of the reading,” he said.  “Novels are read in a matter of days, even hours.  A writer may labor for weeks over a particular passage that will have its effect on a reader for an instant - and that effect may be subliminal or barely noticed.”

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