SATIRE: The Hierarchy of Writers

  1. A gnat that somehow gets into the auditorium during a writers-in-conversation panel just as they are arguing that literary prizes are inherently exclusionary and exist to generate book sales and perpetuate homogeneity. By the time the audience is clapping, the gnat has fallen into a glass of water and drowned.
  2. A ten-year-old writes a screenplay that is a mélange of his most recent dream, the plot of the last video game he played, and ends with the heroes all competing at a Battle of the Bands. “Very nice,” his parents tell him, politely.
  3. Everyone in the office jokes that Amanda should do nothing but proofread their emails for them. “You’re such a good writer,” her boss says, reading the newest draft of the brochure designed to launch the company’s zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment.
  4. Years ago, she told someone she’d been working on a novel. Now, embarrassingly, this person introduces her to others as a writer. “She’s going to be famous one day,” the friend drunkenly announces to strangers. Everyone pretends to be interested and wants to know where she’s published. She tells them that actually she does the payroll for a construction company, then changes the subject. She doesn’t say that she last looked at her manuscript two years ago, which is around the same time that she stopped referring to herself as someone with a day job.
  5. He entered a short story competition once and won. Though the story was praised for its unflinching and quietly devastating portrayal of childhood trauma, he can’t tell anyone in his life in case they read it and suddenly look at him differently. He knows that his friends would probably think the story was about his parents, which it wasn’t, but he can see how it might appear that way.
  6. Though her self-published novels are disparagingly described as “chick lit”, “softcore porn” and “glorified Harlequin trash”, she laughs all the way to the bank.
    Ladies dont let your husband catch you with this u might be in Trouble!! says K_is_for_Karen on Goodreads.
    If I wrote something this shit I’d kill myself says Jeff23.
  7. He used to be considered one of the best new talents in the local literary scene. The sales for his debut work of experimental non-fiction were disappointing, but his essay on the future of social media went viral on Twitter. In the wake of his fame he taught a writing class for a while, but then a number of women came forward with allegations and he dropped off the face of the internet. People still link to that essay, though.
  8. He has been snubbed by every major literary prize over the course of his seventy-year career, but his second novel is now considered a modern classic and often appears on the undergraduate syllabus as an example of ‘genre fiction’. He writes 7,000 words a day.
  9. The Man Booker prizewinner of 2022, 2023 and 2025 (the judges announced that no prize would be awarded in 2024 since nothing good was written that year). She lives as the sole inhabitant on an Arctic weather station. Every morning she bathes in a tub of ice, a ritual that enables her to go without sleep. She also speaks fluent wolf, although experts say this is impossible.
  10. A giant orb to whom food and drink are the obsolete necessities of yesteryear. The orb coughs at a typewriter and, between the keys, poetry uncurls like saplings.

Georgia White is a writer and literary studies researcher from Melbourne, Australia. She holds a Masters in English from the University of Oxford and her PhD thesis will examine the emergence of the city as a Gothic landscape in the nineteenth-century novel. Her writing has previously appeared in Boshemia Mag, the Oxford Review of Books, and The Toast. She writes only in the dead of night with a murderous gleam in her eye and tweets sporadically at @georgiamonsters.

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