Anorak News | Julie Burchill: Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philosemite

Julie Burchill: Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philosemite

by | 22nd, November 2012

 A WHILE back I (along with others) received an email from the divine goddess Julie Burchill. She was seeking my financial support for a book she wants to publish called Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philosemite – about her adoration of the Jewish race. She had signed up to a crowd-funding publishing outfit called Unbound – if an author can find enough loot via backers (ie interested readers with cash) to sponsor their book, then they, too, will find themselves between covers.

But why would an award-winning author such as Burchill take this route to publication? Have commercial publishing editors entirely taken leave of their senses in their crazy pursuit of Yuletide instant bio, supermarket soft-porn and the celebrity chef TV tie-in?In a promo video on the Unbound site, she says she wanted to write the book her ‘own way’. More to the point, as she revealed in the Telegraph recently, she was put out that publishers had had the gall to demand she submit a sample chapter of 6,000 words. The very idea!Even more to the point, and In all probability, editors were nervous of the theme. Suddenly the prospect of lucrative wall-to-wall media coverage of the title and its outspoken author paled by the fear of an upset.How times have changed. Many years ago I couldn’t find a publisher for my novel Farce Hole (an 80s-set fashion satire, due to be republished as Vicki Cochrane’s Astral Chronicle) despite rave reader reports. Then one day the late Sheridan Morley drew my attention to a new publisher called Citron (now defunct). Even Martis Amis and Fay Weldon were singing its praises. For a nominal fee to cover marketing (I think around £100) this print-on-demand cooperative, with exacting editorial standards, brought out my book. It sold several hundred copies – 25 alone at a Kinky Fiction Night reading at Waterstone’s in Oxford Street.

Oh, but the snobbery! I remember the idiotic Jason Cowley, now editor of the New Statesman, sniffing about Citron being a ‘vanity publisher’ (even though it was nothing of the sort). The Jasons of the day decreed that author talent had to be determined by flaky souls in publishing offices – from whom bookish journalists took their cue, in their anxiety to be seen not in the wrong.

And now look. Famous authors everywhere are finding and funding new ways to sideline the redundant Snipcocks – who gives a fuck about vanity? Why Julie is not self-publishing Unchosen as a Kindle e-book I do not know. And how close is she to publishing Unchosen? She has 61% of the necessary funding as of today – I’m sure she’ll soon hit her target. The likes of Private Eye‘s Francis Wheen, Candida Lycett Green, Barbara Ellen and Paul Burston have made a contribution.

We’ll see if Madame Arcati feels so generous.

To watch Julie Burchill’s video for Unchosen, click here

One chapter is called Israel vs the Jews. We get it.

The extract:

In the September of 2012, in a Times column very appropriately titled ‘Beta Male’, one Robert Crampton described a series of recurrent nightmares he had. All the usual stuff was there; zombies, nakedness, being on the run from the police for unspecified but heinous crimes. And at the end, this one: ‘Another scenario is that I choose to go everywhere wrapped in an enormous Israeli flag. I am aware that many people I come across are sniggering, and some others are downright hostile, and even my most ardently Zionist friends are embarrassed, and yet I insist on wearing the flag everywhere…’
This made me laugh. What a sap! As an alpha female, this is not my nightmare but rather my dream, and one I have to some extent lived. I have spent my life wrapping myself in the Jewish flag, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally. I open my handbag and half a dozen paper ones on toothpicks, fashioned for me by my friend and Modern Hebrew Language classmate Karl, fall out. I look up from writing and see two full-sized ones staring proudly back from my bookcases, framing the Torah. I look across the room and see it on the bunting which hangs around my permanent window shrine to that modern Jewish heroine Amy Winehouse. I look into my heart, and against its calcified black background I see the blue and the white.

Make it happen.


Posted: 22nd, November 2012 | In: Books Comments (7) | TrackBack | Permalink