Thursday, 13 September 2012

Squee! Why I'm excited that My Piece About Alt Lit is in the Guardian

Yesterday the Guardian published a piece of mine about where in the literary world writers are getting to grips with the internet and its impact on our lives their books blog (even better, they had asked me to write it). 

Here it is 

The really exciting news is that the piece is a chance to talk in a mainstream cultural arena about the literary underground, specifically about the world of alt lit. I got to talk about the theoretical importance of experimental self-published literature that reuses, remixes, and reedits the internet so as to interrogate and reflect it and its impact on our lives, psyches, and souls. Which is what I've been dreaming of for ages - not just self-published literature being taken seriously as a subject but self-published material that's utterly uncommercial (almost all of it's free), obscure, and almost totally unedited - in other words material that doesn't recognise the norms of "professional standards" but deliberately distances itself from it and bases its value on entirely separate cultural criteria.

And even better still has been the reaction - both the positive (random strangers tweeting each other the article and saying they loved it and it was an article that needed to be written) and the negative (a healthy dose on Facebook of people outraged and saying "that's not art" and "how dare they" - in other words, the same kind of outrage as people have for conceptual art).

Fingers crossed it's the start of some real progress in getting the media to take cutting edge self-published literature seriously as an art form. And do check out the links in the piece to some truly remarkable pieces of writing


  1. This is a huge step forward, Dan - and well done, you, plugging away at this for so long until even the Guardian begins to realise we aren't going away. A great piece.

  2. Truly fantastic Dan! Great piece - kudos.

  3. thank you so much, both. Yes, fingers crossed people are starting to listen. I think it's up to us as self-publishers to keep talking about our work and show the media that the content is worth covering, not just how many copies we happen to sell or what we're up to on twitter

  4. Diaries are massive sellers now too, since the advent of self-publishing - Even if you're not a celebrity, the attraction of looking into someone's innermost thoughts and observations over everyday life is more intriguing than a cut-and-paste romance or standard crime thriller. Reality is often stranger than fiction!

  5. Trouble is, our culture forgot to appreciate something that is given free, as it is habitually equated with worthless. Maybe it's not just a materialistic mindset, maybe it's something to do with not wanting to be indebted and obliged to reciprocate. A kind of superstition. How does one overcome this engrained attitude?

  6. Lisa, very good point about diaries

    Ashen, I don't know to be honest. I have always loved street art and I don't understand the problem with free. I do feel the worry about indebtedness when I'm given something, but that's very different from being offered something. I think for many people sharing art is just away of life, which is a good thing