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Blurb: a brief diversion

One of the more fraught aspects of doing a spot of writing is occasionally you will be called upon to provide a potted biography. Maybe some writers approach this joyously, for me it’s a horrible chance to look like a prize knob.

Who wants to read author blurbs? Nobody, that’s who. Or rather, people will glance over other publications, maybe take note of a website address. The rest comes off as so much self aggrandising nonsense. Who cares what else I do? Yet the terrible urge is to try to write something different from the norm, something witty, something interesting. Which is, of course, ludicrous. Clearly people are already interested, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your blurb, because who wants to read author blurbs (refrain, repeat to fade)

In his wonderful book “Invisible Forms”. Kevin Jackson takes a chapter to have a look at this strange extrusion on the body of writing, and skewers its various incarnations. The depressing truth is that the laconic, jokey, offhand blurb:

“Matt Fallaize was born in 1977 for some reason.” as much of a cliché as the lengthy list of achievements and publications and, for some reason, location. Who gives a monkey’s where I live? And yet, there it is, in all my bios to date. In fact, horror upon horror, my most recent bios include an offhand, laconic joke, artfully designed to subvert the form, jesus wept. It’s a truism, but there really is nothing harder to write about than yourself *

*without sounding like a massive goon


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