Quite Right

Fuck sensitivity readers.

Ian McEwan has expressed his opposition to sensitivity readings, accusing young people of wanting “to bind their arms and legs in ways that are just trivial”.

Speaking to the international news agency AFP in Paris, the Booker-winning novelist expressed disdain at the practice of hiring someone to read a manuscript before its publication in order to point out things that might be offensive to readers. “These mass hysterias, moral panics, sweep through populations every now and then. And I think this is one of them,” he said.

I agree. I would never use one. While I do get people to beta read my manuscript – the latest one is out at the moment – that is to pick up typos, grammar errors and possible plot holes or to clear up any understanding issues that I might have missed. Never, ever, to pick up on something that might cause offence, because if a reader is offended, that’s their problem, not mine.


  1. Hmmm.
    Could be fun to hire a sensitivity reader and then cram even more of what they point out into it…
    Just for the lolz

    • There is that, I suppose. That said, I reckon I could manage to do that anyway. My next novel will be a sequel to Renegade and involves a mixed race woman who just happens to be a murderous psychopath. She was popular before, so I’m giving her her own story. I’m not mixed race, I’m not a woman and I’m not a psychopath, so have no lived experience in any of these areas, so that’s three sensitivity issues right there.

      • Make her a blossoming transgender lesbian and I think you’ve nailed most of the dog whistle topics…

      • “a […] woman who just happens to be a murderous psychopath”

        Well that covers about 90% of the modern Miss in circulation. You have a sizeable target audience there, methinks.

        • Interestingly – going off at a tangent – this character was suggested to me as I’d not written a female antagonist in any of my novels, so I let my imagination go with it. Bear in mind this is the early eighteenth century in Nassau, the Pirate capital of the Caribbean. I made her an escaped slave (another black mark) and she kills anyone who gets in her way – poison being a preferred choice, although she is handy with a blade. She really is thoroughly nasty, self serving and ruthless, yet readers seemed to like her. Hence the decision to give her a story of her own. I’ll have fun leaving a trail of bodies all over the place. Also, writing an antihero will be different. No sensitivity readers, though, they would have a heart attack.

  2. Writers are supose to have imagination, Chaucer recorded the tales that the other pilgrims told him and people do have interesting stories. Shakespeare on the other hand would have run out of plays pretty quickly if he didn’t use his imagination.
    Trouble is there are too many reality shows on tv and they think that’s entertainment. Sorry its boring. No wonder the ratings are going down.
    Chap I work with, tv, film mad, has cancelled the Disney plus streaming thing as fed up with their bash the man culture. Media is trying to brainwash people, hopefully people will see through it.
    And by the way LR you don’t own a dog and the character does, so another black mark!

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