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Martin Amis: Unenjoyable novels dominate literary prizes

7th June 2010

Only 'unenjoyable' novels have a chance of winning literary prizes, if Martin Amis is to be believed.

Speaking at the Hay Festival in Wales, the Money author claimed novels that deal with the lighter side of life are often neglected by judging panels, as they seem to believe weightier, serious tomes have more artistic merit, the Daily Telegraph reported.

'These are the novels which win prizes, because the committee thinks, "Well it's not at all enjoyable and it isn't funny, therefore it must be very serious",' the 60-year-old commented.

In his hour-long lecture, Amis added that some of literature's greats, such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Jane Austen, have been able to write about serious subjects while retaining their sense of humour.

However, he criticised some of the most influential authors of the modern age, including Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, for failing to make their writing entertaining enough.

In March, Orange Prize judge Daisy Goodwin told the Independent that too many female authors concentrate on writing 'misery literature' and fail to include enough wit and jokes.

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