Sunday, March 07, 2004

David Peace vs. Granta 

So David Peace is all over the news this weekend, what with the publication of his new novel GB84. I've already linked to reviews in the Guardian, Observer, and a long piece in the Independent, but perhaps the most interesting one showed up in the Telegraph over the weekend. But because that paper is so notoriously slow about getting their content online, it'll be a few days before everything's available. Most intriguingly, Peace reveals in the Telegraph that being one of the Best 20 Young British Authors isn't quite what it's cracked up to be:

"I got off on the wrong foot with Granta. They said to me the photo would be in two weeks' time. Then I got an e-mail on the Saturday: 'You have to be in London by Tuesday morning.' And I'm like, 'I can't.' 'You have to be.' 'I can't.' 'This is the only day that Zadie Smith can do this photo shoot. She is going to America on Wednesday and she doesn't want to change her plans.' I'm like, 'F*** Zadie Smith because I'm not going to do it.' "

So Zadie goes off to Harvard and won't change her plans, but Peace has to come in all the way from Tokyo at a moment's notice? Yeesh. But then, the whole Granta thing never much impressed Peace to begin with:

He has a distinct memory,10 years before he failed to turn up for the Granta photo, of seeing the group shot of his 1993 predecessors. "I remember thinking, they look like a bunch of wankers. They're all London-based. They just seem a literary elite." To this day, he reads almost no contemporary fiction.

I always thought he was an odd one to be included amongst the 20, but the strength and originality of his writing stacks up to any of them, if not more so. But his attitude isn't terribly surprising; some years back, he went on at length to Crime Time about his beef with the genre as a whole. Contrary? Certainly. Iconoclastic? You betcha. But that's what makes him so interesting....

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