The novel is by nature a slow-moving beast, excellently suited to chewing over the important things in life, much less so to moving nimbly through a fast-changing world. As events spin past us at head-whirling velocity, this can be a problem: people are thirsty for explanation that goes deeper than the news agenda, and they are turning to timely TV adaptations and non-fiction rather than fiction. New novels even by established literary authors sell less than they used to; I organised a series of book events recently, and while tickets for the non-fiction authors were in high demand, sales for fiction events were notably slow.

AuthorAlice O'Keeffe