Monday, March 13, 2006

Lionel Shriver on success

Novelist Lionel Shriver spent years struggling for recognition, until last year she won the Orange Prize (for We Need To Talk About Kevin). But, as she writes in The Guardian, success has brought it's own problems.
...the biggest challenge to living in a limelight that has previously swept elsewhere goes to the core of your identity - of not just who you are to other people, but who you are to yourself. Before this last year, I had lived for decades in the literary hinterlands. Locating myself in the cultural margins provided a sense of identity just as geographical as my dozen years of residence in off-the-beaten-track Belfast. I had long thought of myself as an outsider, holding on in the world of letters by the skin of my teeth. Agreeably, I got used to people leaving me alone, and keeping their noses out of my business. Relocating myself closer to the cultural mainstream has upset my interior furniture, much as when you load your country house on to a flatbed tractor-trailer and drag it into the city, the walls can skew, and its accoutrements fall on the floor.

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