Here’s how to get on my longlist

Novelist Tibor Fischer reflects on what he learned in reading 126 novels as a Booker Prize judge:

“Taste: there’s no escape. Nevertheless, there are books that I don’t like, but I can see they are proficiently written and that others might enjoy them. Yet some entries were so execrable I reckoned they must have been submitted as a joke.

Those that were a discredit to the industry numbered no more than half a dozen. More remarkable was the number of novels that were pointless. Not bad, not reproachable in any way except one: they were utterly nondescript (mind you, there’s always been a clique in literary London who feel that real literature should be dry, colourless, a bit of a penance — if you’re enjoying it, it can’t be literature). I’d estimate nearly a third of the submissions fell into this category.” ( )