Well, I confess I’m having one of those moments myself.
I just read on the BBC website that British author Doris Lessing, who won this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, is complaining that her win has been (quote) “a bloody disaster.”
“All I do is give interviews and spend time being photographed,” she complains. The increased media interest has meant, she says, that writing a full novel is next to impossible. She thinks she’ll probably give up writing novels altogether.
Now, granted the woman is 88 years old. And she’s already written some 50 books. But giving up entirely?
I can understand media interest being high in the six months or first year after her win, but they’ll give the award to someone next year. And at that point, barring a bunch of phone calls the day of the announcement for “So what do you think of the choice for this year’s winner?” kinds of questions, I have to think the interest in her win would diminish substantially.
Okay, a year can be a long time when you’re 88. But throwing in the towel? Hmmm. Strikes me as giving up a bit easily.
When Lessing won the Nobel, LOCUS made a big deal of it, claiming her as the first science fiction writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature–her writing includes the five-volume Canopus in Argos science fiction series (beginning with Shikasta, 1979).
Whether Ms. Lessing would call herself a science fiction writer or not (I tend to think not–such a designation is usually a self-identified one) this seems a little like SF grasping for recognition. And given how she’s bemoaned her success (and $1.5 million dollar prize) do we really want to claim her as the first Nobel Laureate of Science Fiction?
Thus I make this promise: when I win my Nobel Prize for Literature, with no confusion about my chosen style and genre being SF, I vow to enjoy the hell out of the money, fame, and accolades that come with such recognition. I won’t whine or complain, no matter how old I am, and I promise to continue writing afterward no matter how many feature articles written about me or dinners held in my honour.
After all, I owe it science fiction to do no less.