Editor’s Desk

22 March 2017

Dear Intrepid Reader,

We’re launching our next anthology, Dearly Beloved, this week. To celebrate, we thought we’d look at celebrity authors and their contribution to the world of the written word. Warning: you’re likely going to hate some of these. We hated them too.

  1. James Franco

Author of: Palo Alto (2010), Directing Herbert White (2014), Straight James/Gay James (2016)

James Franco is a polymath who simultaneously attended three different grad schools for filmmaking, poetry, and fiction. His written works have received a mixed reception, with as many people saying that they show promise and originality as the ones saying that they are underwhelming and lack substance. Whether he’s the next Shakespeare or whether he’s just being indulged because of his celebrity, we leave it to you to decide.

  1. Jamie Lee Curtis

photo courtesy Getty Images

Author of: When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth (1993), Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born (1996), Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day (1998), Where Do Balloons Go?: An Uplifting Mystery (2000), I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem (2002), It’s Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel (2004), Is There Really a Human Race? (2006), Big Words For Little People (2008), My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story (2010)

Jamie Lee Curtis began writing children’s books for the first of her two adopted children. Illustrated by Laura Cornell, the books focus on helping children understand themselves emotionally, and satisfying that need children have to talk about themselves. She’s also amazing, devoting most of her time to causes that are important to her, including politics and animal rights.

  1. Carrie Fisher

Author of: Postcards From the Edge (1987), Surrender the Pink (1990), Delusions of Grandma (1993), Hollywood Moms (2001), The Best Awful There Is (2004), Wishful Drinking (2008), Shockaholic (2011), The Princess Diarist (2016)

After her death in 2016, social media went crazy – Carrie Fisher was a much-loved figure far beyond her iconic role as Princess Leia. Fisher’s eloquence and her honesty about mental health issues and problems with substance abuse earned her the love and respect of millions.

  1. Ethan Hawke

photo by Michael Friberg

Author of: The Hottest State: A Novel (1996), Ash Wednesday: A Novel (2002), Rules for a Knight (2015), Indeh: A Story of The Apache Wars (2016)

Hawke is related to Tennessee Williams, and helps fund the Young Lions Fiction Award, a prize for authors under 35. He’s also a member of the New York Public Library’s board of trustees, so his commitment to literature can be seen in a slightly different light than James Franco’s.

I’ll be honest – search “celebrity authors” and it’s easy to find thousands of hits, from Snooki Polizzi to Tyra Banks to Kendall and Kylie Jenner. What marks most of these efforts is their self-serving nature – Britney Spears and her mother co-authored a book that they then turned into a television movie, Nicole Richie wrote two novels, plastering “international best-seller” all over their covers, although they can both now be found on Amazon for 1¢.

Is it because of the pervasive notion that anyone can write? That because we all speak English and we all understand what a good story looks like, anyone can write a compelling story? The truth is that publishers aren’t interested in literary excellence, they’re only interested in what sells. They don’t care why it sells – whether it’s the prurient curiosity of someone who wants a peek into Madonna’s sex life, or someone else’s desire to understand their favorite celebrity by reading their memoir – the dollars spent are the same.

In the meantime, we at Zoetic are spending all our pocket money on those books we think are really important – the ones written by the authors in our own community!

Want to give your own book a shout-out? Catch us on social media!

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And you should also read our fabulous Alphanumeric, Samantha Stiers’ excellent essay My Mother’s People.