Jonathan Freedland et noms de plum

I came across an article yestermorn written by Jonathan Freedland. For those who don’t know, Mr Freedland is a columnist for one of the UK’s leftish newspapers, the Grauniad. (See a full list of his columns.) He’s been putting himself about recently – appearing on the BBC’s Newsnight Review, for example – and his thrust to the forefront can only be attributed to the publication of his debut novel, The Righteous Men. Now, by all accounts, Freedland is a gifted columnist (he was named Columnist of the Year in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards), but The Righteous Men has not drawn stellar reviews – only two so far, and neither very positive (see Grumpy’s article for a summary). This is yet another example, I fear, of a journalist who thinks that, because he uses words for a living, he can write a novel. How many house painters make the transition to portraiture?

I don’t want to talk about the book here – because I haven’t read it – but I wanted to draw your attention to the Guardian article I mentioned above. In the article, which I read last evening, Mr Freedland waxes the barely lyrical on the adoption of a nom de plume. The digested read: “It started as a bit of a joke, then my agent liked it, so I kept it.” Mr Freedland, pointlessly, goes on to list many other authors who used noms de plume, and then the article ends. It’s a piece of fluff copy with absolutely no aim that is, clearly, designed to keep the ball of his book in the air.

To paraphrase John Barlow, I don’t know why I wrote any of this. (Check out Grumpy’s thoughts on Barlow’s Intoxicated.)

Oh yeah, it was to test my new blog picture system. Look! It has a drop shadow. I love my Mac.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

2 thoughts on “Jonathan Freedland et noms de plum”

  1. Thanks, Lev. I think I heard about that via Grumpy Old Bookman. Ah, the mysterious back end of the Guardian…

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