Katharine Viner reflects on her stint as an Orange Prize judge:
There were two particularly low points. One was when I had a run of books about nothing. These were usually by authors from the US, who have attended prestigious creative writing courses, often at the University of Iowa.* They are books with 500 pages discussing a subtle but allegedly profound shift within a relationship. They are books where intricate descriptions of a man taking a glass out of the dishwasher, taking a tea-towel off a rail, opening out the tea-towel, then delicately drying the glass with the tea-towel, before pouring a drink into the glass, signify that he has just been through a divorce. At one point, I rang a friend and shouted at her, “I wish some of these bloody writers would write about Iraq!”
(Via Moorish Girl.)
* Please understand: I am not attacking writers from Iowa. I’m quoting this passage because I believe Viner has identified a problem that afflicts a great deal of contemporary U.S. fiction, and she happens to mention the University of Iowa.