If you’re not a fan of expensively marketed splatter fiction, you may not have heard the name Lionel Shriver until recent days. Not since her 2003 hit We Need To Talk About Kevin -- think of it as Oedipus Goes To Columbine for the book club set -- has the author made such news. It is reported, largely via the account of engineer and writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied, that in a keynote address for the Brisbane Writers Festival, Shriver went too far in her opening address about political correctness gone too far.
Actually, this is not a faithful synopsis of Abdel-Magied’s reasonable and widely republished critique. This bright youngster did not say that Shriver “went too far”, but rather that she didn’t go far enough. Not intellectually far enough, according to Abdel-Magied and other observers interviewed on ABC radio, to exceed the worst analysis of Andrew “I’m Being Silenced For Endlessly Repeating The Things Bill O’Reilly Told Me To Say To A Large and Uncritical Audience” Bolt. It’s the Brisbane Writers Festival that has said that Shriver “took a right hand turn” and went too far.