Great Rejections

Everyone loves to see an expert make a mistake. Well, except whilst undergoing surgery. These are all genuine rejections of literary classics, as collected by publisher Andre Bernard:

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: ‘an irresponsible holiday story’

Lord of the Flies by William Golding: ‘an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.’

Sylvia Plath: ‘There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.’

Crash by J  G Ballard: ‘The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.’ [actually, JGB was always rather proud of this one]

The Deer Park by Norman Mailer: ‘This will set publishing back 25 years.’

The Diary of Anne Frank: ‘The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the “curiosity” level.’

Lust for Life by Irving Stone: ‘A long, dull novel about an artist.’ [true]

Carrie by Stephen King: ‘We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias.  They do not sell.’

Catch – 22 by Joseph Heller: ‘I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say. Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.’

The Spy who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré: ‘You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.’

Animal Farm by George Orwell: ‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA’


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