Seeing the literary light a decade on from an early brush with celebrity
This article is from 2008.
In some forms of entertainment fame can often come extraordinarily early (music and film perhaps), but with mechanisms in place to help the ‘victims’ deal with the onset of celebrity. In the literary world, support systems are less common, especially considering that writers tend to gain fame at a stage in their life when maturity helps them cope with such overwhelming demands. For South African-born, Oxford-educated and now Glasgow-based Richard Mason, the trappings of fame became a straitjacket when at the age of 19 he signed a book deal which caused ripples among the literary world and was even a topic of discussion on Newsnight. ‘Although you feel grateful for the attention, I wanted to creep away under a rock, not emerge and just have a normal life again.’
A decade on from those crazy times which almost led to Mason having a full-blown nervous breakdown, he is on his third novel and feeling much happier with life. The Lighted Rooms features an elderly woman uncovering the ghosts of her Bloemfontein heritage and a high-flying daughter struggling with the pitfalls of a cut-throat business world. ‘Writing this book was a quest to rediscover my old self and I know now that I’ll write many more books.’
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