History dead; politics still ticking

By Carmen Comment

Literary agent Natasha Fairweather begins her commentary for the Telegraph with a bit of a kvetch, bemoaning the fact that history — you know, those mammoth Tudor biographies and history heartthrobs getting mobbed in Waterstone’s, that sort of thing — is dead to publishing at the moment. And it’s oh so hard to anticipate trends, but hey, she’s going to try anyway. What’s her prediction: politics is in, baby:

Predicting the future is, of course, a mugs’ game, but one area which I’m certain will flourish anew in the coming few years is the market for political books. We’ve all sensed the climate of political apathy which has resulted from a tarnished government. Tory leaders have come and gone leaving barely a dent on the political or publishing landscape (though William Hague’s biography of Pitt the Younger was a conspicuous success last year). And nobody is seemingly sufficiently enthused about the Liberal Democrats even to commission a biography of the leader. But all this is about to change.

With the end of the Blair era in sight it will be fascinating to see which members of his entourage will commit themselves to print. There will be Blair’s own memoirs, of course. But will ministers who have clambered on to the moral high ground recently, condemning former diplomats such as Christopher Meyer for writing about contemporary history, be tempted to publish themselves? I’d wager a yes, since hypocrisy and politics have always made good bedfellows.

And if you think this might flourish in the UK, give it a few years and we’ll be deluged with books by those on the fringe of the Bush/Cheney ticket…