In anticipation of the Savannah Book Festival, no doubt there are many authors who wanted to be part of this event but could not for one reason or another. Reasons might include a book not published within the festival’s calendar year, a book passed over by the selection committee, a self-published book, or a book not published at all. My book, “Oscar Wilde and the Art of Lying,” was somewhere within the first two categories. But I don’t really know because the judges wouldn’t tell me. Copies of the book, once returned, appeared to be unread. Of course, it was something of a radical book. It presumed to critique Wilde using his own method: a critique in play format. This idea was so radical, not even the reviewers would touch it. Which was another point against it. Yet I’m sure such phenomena have occurred all throughout time. It is nothing new. It happened to Wilde’s nemesis, James McNeil Whistler. Whistler, of course, became a famous painter, but in his early days he was rejected by the prestigious Paris Exhibition.
In fact, so many artists were being refused, someone got the bright idea (Napoleon III) of opening a “Salon des Réfusés” where talented but repressed artists were allowed to exhibit their work. I would like to propose this same idea: a festival for authors refused by the Savannah Book Festival. Or any festival. Those interested in this idea please reply through this paper, else directly to desjardins. firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can organize our own festival and by-pass the gate-keepers.