The Independent has published a report from its correspondent at the Bath Lterature Festival, Katy Guest. When learning of Time’s recent mistake re Waugh’s gender, Guest wondered if the perception of Waugh as a female writer might be a good career move. Women writers apparently shift more books but win fewer awards and less critical praise. The magazine’s recent error made her
wonder how Evelyn’s books would be reviewed and marketed if she had written them now. In 1928, Decline and Fall was lauded as a viciously funny social satire; but would the same novel by Mrs Waugh be read as semi-autobiographical flimflam about a wedding? A Handful of Dust: a condemnation of the futility of humanist philosophy, or a thinly disguised roman à clef? Vile Bodies was a dark view of a decadent, doomed generation, but today’s Evelyn would have had her novel forced into pink covers, renamed Pretty Young Things and marketed as a romcom.