Kay Burley is one of the top presenters on Sky News. That means she is a person of influence. If you get Sky News.
Ms Burley has just published a novel about politics called Ladies First. She has her detractors so I doubt the novel will be read in its own terms. Some people think it’s a bit rubbish; Peter Mandelson apparently likes it; others believe that it depicts versions of Tony Blair, Rebekka Wade and even (self-servingly) Burley herself. That’s not for me to say.
As someone who has made it their business to map out how politics has been depicted on the stage, page and screen over the last hundred years or so, I put this new addition to my data set (as we academics say) into historical context for the benefit of the good readers of the Guardian.
If you read the comments provoked by the peice you’ll see how certain Guardian readers despise Sky News (its always been good to me) in general and Burley in particular, so I think my point got a bit lost. However, I did not write it to have a go at Burley but merely to suggest that her novel is, sadly, typical of the decline of a certain kind of novel written about politics.
For those who might like to delve a little deeper into the matter of how men and women have been depicted in novels and fiction about politics more generally this might be of interest.
Be warned, it’s only a conference paper so it’s a bit rough round the edges – my final word will come in a book to be published in 2012 by Bloomsbury.
When I write it.