Here’s a small but telling detail. In Penguin’s recent Book of the British Short Story (ed Philip Hensher) the author names, at the head of each story, are printed in large, bold capitals, whereas the actual story titles are printed below in smaller, italic, and apart from the initial letter, lower case.

The implication is clear…that for Penguin, what is being sold, is ‘the singer, not the song’. ‘Another brick in the wall’ of celebrity culture that is being built around us.

Have you ever, as a writer of short story, put your name above the title of the story? Can you imagine recalling a short story author, but not any of his or her stories, or what they were about? I’ll bet you could recall some stories that you can’t remember the author of. Then again,  I can remember a conversation once with a journalist who was singing the praises of a well known contemporary poet. What’s your favourite poem by him, I asked…well, your favourite line then? ….Can you remember a word he’s used, perhaps?…. ‘There’s no business like show business!’

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