A couple of years back, I was at the least debauched stag do ever (the groom was a bearded vegetarian Quaker).
During basket weaving, I asked one of my fellow skinny square stags what he did for a living and he told me he'd recently been published. I didn’t hide my admiration. He then went on to explain that the only reason Bloomsbury had published his novel was they were basically rolling in it from Harry Potter and were taking loads of risks.
He continued in a self deprecating vein and by the time I’d completed my raffia flower decorations I’d decided not to bother reading his book as it obviously wasn’t very good.
A couple of years later my dad lent me a novel with the recommendation “You need to read this.” So I knew it was serious.
And he was right. I did need to read it. It was the best thing I’d read in ages. And halfway through I realised (you guessed it) it was my fellow weedy stag’s book.
He’d neglected to mention he’d been nominated for the fricking Booker prize (the longlist, but still).
It’s a peculiar British affliction, putting our own work down and assuming others will contradict us. We ought to sell our stuff. Because often when we breezily say ‘it’s no big deal’ or ‘the idea's not bad’ people believe us.
Unless my dad sets them straight. Which he can't always do, you know.
13 hours ago