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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Letters: Feb 28

Oo-er, seventeen authors, no less, line up to defend The Guardian against what they see as my unfounded criticism of peer reviewing.

When I got wind, a little over ten days ago, that this mini petition was being prepared, I could scarcely believe it. It does reveal, I think, the inherent insecurity of children's authors. It is very hard to imagine, for example, that had my letter referred to adult book reviews it would have generated the formation of a cabal.

It is perplexing to me that novelists whose craft involves the daily analysis of human sensibilities should apparently dismiss my reservations about peer reviewing so straightforwardly. I was not implying that critical peer reviews are necessarily motivated by envy or grudge (though it is naive in the extreme to suggest that children's authors are above such things); I did mean to imply - more articulately in my ACHUKACHAT clarification than in the letter, to be fair - that the subjects of critical reviews, or even of harsh critical comments within broadly positive reviews, may well impute such motives and therefore complicate the professional relationship between themselves and the reviewer.

I've just read Darren Shan's contribution to the Peer Reviews discussion thread on ACHUKACHAT and recommend it.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on February 28, 2004 9:43 AM.

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