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Biographer’s Club

On Wednesday I chaired a meeting of the Biographer’s Club held at the Betsey Trotwood Pub in Clerkenwell Road. The panel discussion was titled ‘How to Survive as a Writer’ and we had 3 excellent panellists – Paula Johnson who administers prizes and grants for the Society of Authors and the Royal Society of Literature, Edmund Gordon a lecturer and reviewer who is writing Angela Carter’s biography and Frances Wilson a biographer who is currently writing an inner life of Thomas De Quincey. There was a good and lively turn out – a cross section of both established and not so established writers … lots of pertinent questions and the subject was raised as to how shocking it is that many literary festivals pay authors no fee. Paula promised to bring this up at a meeting. Fees for all kinds of freelance work have plummeted and advances are much reduced … but everyone agreed that they had been ludicrously high.