This is not the first piece I've read from Susan Hill setting out her stall as a proper writer and firmly pushing others out of her self-determined charmed circle of the real thing. The real thing being limited to William Trevor, Helen Simpson, Alice Munro and, umm, herself.
Why does she waste her breath and her callused writers finger on telling us to step aside and get out of her way, that she and a few others are the Queen Bees of writing and that drones are beneath contempt?
What, exactly, is she so worried about? She is a published writer with, let me just check, yes, she tells us, 43 books to her name. Why can't she be gracious and enjoy the fact that people are writing, they are playing with words, creating stories, shaping ideas, articulating thoughts, having fun with words, working hard with words, and most importantly getting better at using words? Surely she can't be worried that without her name attached to a piece of writing that Jo and Joanna Public might not realise (they haven't received the training) it is of worth?
Her language is so full-on, so angry, and the article is self-labelled as a rant, but I can't see what's being threatened that should cause such an outpouring of venom. It seems so contrary to sense. Does she also want to restrict reading to those who are professional readers? It seems on a par, in terms of bonkersness and pomposity. Do we have a saturation point for reading and is Hill concerned that if we fill up on Big Macs (tweets, blogs, amateur stuff) we won't have room for Chateaubriand (Susan Hill)?
Hill comes out of this like a devilish anti-children's laureate, wanting to curtail self-expression, and deny a platform to any who have not trained or worked hard at writing for fifty years (at least), and her flip attitude to disadvantage does her no favours either. For anyone who's worked in the arts as I have for over twenty years (those are MY credentials) and has seen the amazingly positive impact art can have on individuals and communities when they are encouraged to participate and use their imaginations, Hill's opinions are unpalateable nonsense.
Got that off my chest then. Get writing everyone.