Because of the Oxford Literary Festival's attitude to paying speakers (they don't) I can't remain as a Patron any longer. I've resigned.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) January 13, 2016
I have to say that Mr. Pullman’s stance touches on something close to the hearts of indie authors such as myself. There is a kind of stigma attributed to all authors who are not rich, best-selling celebrities. It is almost as if people believe it takes an author only as long to write a book as it takes the reader to finish a book. Admittedly, this notion may be foggy at best, but I have to admit that I have, from time to time, felt a pang of hurt when asked for free copies of my work. I have felt shame in this hurt — for after all isn’t it nice that the book requester might actually experience my words? My world? And I truly am thankful for the interest. But then I think (and we all know what sort of bad things happen when we think) what else might have been done with the time I’ve spent writing novels? Imagine if I spent that time knitting a quilt the size of New York City, and someone asked for it folded up nicely for free (Okay, maybe not that big — but you get the point).
The same goes for many artists and authors who show up to talk at events such as the Oxford Literary Festival Mr. Pullman withdrew himself from. If you are a small venue and can’t pay, then that’s Okay. If you are a reader who can’t afford buying books then by all means enjoy our giveaways. But to have an institution such as Oxford slight up-and-coming authors tells us something. It tells us that society doesn’t want to support new thinkers, and to me that is as scary as any dystopia. So thank you, Mr. Pullman for making this statement.