Am I a real writer now?

As a writer of non-fiction I can't help but harbour a little chip on my shoulder. Real writers, it seems, do fiction. This must be true - look at how many more prizes there are for fiction writers than non-fiction. What's more, compare the amount of publicity the big fiction prizes get against the handful of non-fiction, not to mention the fawning coverage from presenters in the media.

Let's face it, non-fiction writers are second class citizes of the literary world.

So (even though the above is highly tongue in cheek - because I don't agree with the people who set up these prizes, and the literati in general) I'm rather pleased to say that my first piece of real paid-for fiction has been published. It's in the Communications of the ACM, and I'm rather proud of it.

Unfortunately as this is paid-for journal, unless you are a member, you can't look at it apart from the abstract (yes, it's a short story with an abstract. This is a journal, after all). But I know it's there, and that's a nice feeling.


  1. Why is this so? Is it because the idea of popular non-fiction is relatively new? That "prizes" for non-fiction are the plaudits of academia rather than tawdry trophies and filthy lucre? My guess is that in the next five to ten years this will change, if the sales are there.

  2. I think, Liz, there's an element of the two cultures at work here: fiction is an Artform, with a capital A. Non-fiction is the craft of horny-handed sons and daughters of the typewriter, or some such. It's just a collection of facts, not creative. (I don't believe this, you understand, but I think it exists as a way the literati operate. And of all the areas of non-fiction, science probably being considered the least worthy of recognition.)


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