Not sure if Faulkner, Woolf, Beckett would get published today: Booker winner Damon Galgut

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Jaipur, Feb 8 (PTI) Not sure if works of wonderful writers like William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett would get published in this day and age, said Booker-winning author Damon Galgut, as he talked about how books today are "not prepared to take risks".

Galgut, speaking at the recently concluded 17th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), said the sort of risks that might have been possible half-a-century ago are "not even considered an option by most publishers today".

"Writers like William Faulkner, Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf are wonderful. They are a high watermark on a literary level... I am not sure if they'll actually get published now if they submitted their novels.

"I think they'll be considered too much of a risk, I can't prove that but that is my sense and I feel really sad about that," said the South African playwright and novelist.

While Irish novelist Beckett and American writer Faulkner are both Nobel Prize winners for literature, English writer Woolf, considered an icon of literary modernism, is best remembered for her novels "Mrs Dalloway" and "To the Lighthouse". The author, who won the 2021 Booker Prize for "The Promise" -- his third shortlisted novel for the coveted prize -- said books today are not prepared to take risks because there is a "false" perception of it being under threat from either "the streaming series or social media".

And, according to the 60-year-old author, publishers who think books should be competing with social media or web series have "lost the battle" in the beginning itself.

"I think books should fall back on their core strength which relies primarily on language and what language can do," he explained.

Talking about his novels and readers, Galgut said in his novels he writes to "resemble life as he knows it" which might not be the kind of novels that a lot of readers are looking for.

For instance, the ones "that rewards good people or good actions and punishes bad ones". Though admitting that he has read a lot of such novels himself and understands the "gratifications" that those novels deliver.

"How does that resemble in what I read in newspapers everyday, where terrible dictators die peacefully and they sleep in old age, good people are often not rewarded, or even recognised?" he asked.

"The Promise", Galgut's ninth book, follows the decline of one South African family over four decades from the apartheid era to the present day. He is the third South African novelist to win the prestigious prize after Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee. PTI MG MAH MAH