Gwyn Jones: 'fears for our dispossessed authors'

Gwyn Jones: 'fears for our dispossessed authors'

The former publisher of literary imprint Flamingo, and later Portobello and Granta Books, has expressed his concerns over the future of literary writing, saying that writers have become "dispossessed" by the death of the old model for funding such work.

Philip Gwyn Jones, now editor-at-large for Scribe and a trustee for the Royal Literary Fund, among other roles, has entered the debate raised by Will Self and Robert McCrum, writing in an extended piece in The Bookseller of the threat he foresees to the future of our literary culture.

"In my darker moments these days, I find myself terrified that the kind of original book I have loved as a publisher and as a reader these past 25 years will less often get written, let alone published, unless those who love such books work out new ways to fund the most ambitious writing," Gwyn Jones stated.

A considerable number of literary agents share his fears, he warned. "Many of them [the literary agents Gwyn Jones canvassed for their opinion] fear, as I do, that some writers are starting to abandon their more daring notions before declaring them out loud as it were, as they are so bruised by their agents' failure to make headway with their last bold proposal…

"We may never know, as readers, which great books we've been prevented from coming across by their failure to be born."