Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Mona Rushdie

In these times of economic hardship when executive evacuation is hitting the fan at an alarming rate, you need laughter. The Mooses tonic for the day is anything by P.G Wodehouse or Tom Sharpe. In fact in these 'Alice in Wonderland,' days Berty Wooster seems a beacon of intelligence and sobriety. I've also been dipping into S.J Perelman who is as witty and amusing as any American writer plying his trade today. Perhaps its just me but there does seem to be a dearth of great comedic writers these days or is it the fact that editors don't think they can sell humorous books? Surely when we're all going to hell in a hand cart clutching our maxed out credit cards, laughter is the tonic required. An editorial director told me last year that they had had had their fingers burned trying to publish humorous books. Well, you're not marketing them right. If you have a great story, beautifully told and it is funny, we will buy it. Trust me, I read books. In the late 70's and 80's when we were also suffering an econimic meltdown, Tom Sharpe was one of the biggest selling authors in the world. Now, you're not telling me there isn't someone out there today with similar writing credentials? Kick the miserabilists into touch and start selling something to put a smile on our faces. My challenge for all the commissioning editors out there is that if they can publish a humorous title that can make Salman Rushdie smile again, the Moose will eat his own antlers. Now that would be funny.


  1. Well Moose. If you can find and publish an author as funny as Tom Sharpe, I'll certainly buy a copy. I imagine all the people that would be considered his successors are writing for TV now. I guess they get a bit more instant gratification and probably more money.

    Personally I also thought that Tom Sharpe's funniest books were the South African anti-apartheid ones. Without trying to start a debate about whether or not it is comparable, I think only the Palestinian/Israeli situation resembles this and I just don't see anyone writing or publishing a book similar to Sharpe's on this situation.

  2. Chris,

    the interesting thing about Tom Sharpe is that even then in the early Seventies commissioning editors didn't think that humour would sell, so the publishers didn't give him an advance, they paid him a monthly salary for the first twelve months. Perhaps this is a publishing model for todays uncertain economic and risk free climate.


What do you think?