What a Week
Posted Sunday, 13 April 2014 at 15:10
Last week I launched my first book, The Four Streets. What a week that was. I loved this review by Mark Hennesy of the Irish Times who described the book as ‘Angela’s Ashes in a scouse accent’.
Ann Trenneman of the Times got inside my head with this interview. She is so good at her job as a journalist, it's scary. I have thrown journalists out of my home. Literally. I have disinvited a book and theatre critic to my book launch without a flinch and if you had ever told me a journalist would make me cry, I would have laughed in your face. She made me cry and I swear, I didn’t even see her try.
She began the article with the fact that she had found herself reading The Four Streets in a cold bath at 11.30 at night and that isn’t something she does for work.
And I also loved the way Iain Dale, LBC broadcaster and blogger extraordinaire, in a manner both fair and accurate, summed up the appalling behavior of the Daily Telegraph journalists who wrote six negative articles in seven days. Iain provided evidence that the Telegraph rejected the original review they had commissioned by Cristina Odone. Based on her lovely Twitter comments, it looked very promising. They chose instead to hurriedly commission a review from an elderly, bearded (yes, it was a man) ex Opus Dei member who is rumored to be Latin scholar. As one of the characters in the book is a child-abusing priest, you can guess what his review was like and only wonder why.
Here is what Iain had to say;
It’s a pity that the Telegraph has seemingly renewed its vendetta against Nadine Dorries. It had commissioned columnist Cristina Odone to interview Nadine Dorries about her debut novel THE FOUR STREETS. Odone duly read the book and could hardly contain her enthusiasm for it, tweeting at 6.09pm on Monday: “Just read The Four Streets – Fab first novel by Nadine Dorries. Catholic Liverpool, irish immigrants & black secrets behind net curtains.”
Fourteen minutes later she reinforced the point, tweeting: “Well done @NadineDorriesMP on your debut novel The Four Streets – a funny and sometimes shocking saga set in Catholic Liverpool.” How very strange then that the following morning instead of publishing Odone’s no doubt very positive interview, they published a damning review by their Head of Stuffiness, Christopher Howse. You just need to look at his photo to know the kind of review he would write of a novel by a female politician. And then you need to take into account Howse used to be a member of Opus Dei. I doubt he took kindly to the storyline of the Catholic Priest abusing a young girl. True to form he gave it a one star review and called it the worst novel he’d read in ten years. Well, he would, wouldn’t he?
Clearly he’d been given a brief, and the reason? I’m told it was because Nadine had the temerity to give two interviews – on GMTV and my LBC show on Tuesday morning – in which she uttered views on MPs’ expenses which weren’t to the Telegraph’s liking. Readers may remember her criticism of the Telegraph, and the Barclay Brothers, over the original MPs’ expenses scandal. Nadine then upped the ante and withdrew an invitation to the Telegraph’s ‘Head of Bitchery’, Tim Walker (who writes their Mandrake diary column, as well as being an excellent theatre critic), to her booklaunch that evening. He responded in kind with a series of tweets which sought to denigrate both Nadine and her beleaguered publicist.
Yesterday morning he went even further in a vitriolic attack on her. To be honest he showed himself up. Nadine wasn’t taking any of it and accused him of lying. When he was caught out denying Cristina Odone had ever been commissioned to write any piece for the Telegraph Nadine posted a tweet from Odone confirming she had indeed been asked to do just that. “Telegraph asked to interview Nadine – I read the book, couldn’t put it down and told her so.” At that point Walker retired in a huff, tweeting: “Speaking purely for myself, I am bored to tears of this particular honourable member.” I am sure the feeling was mutual.
On Tuesday evening I trotted off to the InterContinental Hotel which seems to have become THE place to hold book launches in Westminster, where Nadine was hosting the launch of her book. Well, she was supposed to be. I’ve never been at a booklaunch where the author didn’t turn up until nearly an hour after it started and then made a speech which can’t have been more than about 14 words long. The shortest in recent political memory, I’d have thought. But then again, Nadine does like to do things differently. And that’s why many of us love her.
I was asked the old chestnut, ‘where do you find the time’, over and over. No male MP who writes a book is ever asked that question and the answer is very simple, my girls left home. I replaced the time I would have spent cooking, cleaning, shopping and ironing, with writing and I know which I enjoy the most. My constituency has and always will come first. My writing is a hobby. A hobby which makes me happy and I think I am a much better MP for it.
Despite how vicious many journalists have been, the 'normal' people over at Lovereading.co.uk and Goodreads.com have left lovely reviews. I am delighted to see that the book, despite having only been officially launched for five days (pre orders delivered the week before) is now at No 6 in the Kindle fiction saga listing.
I now understand why Goodreads and Lovereading exist. The genuine unbiased reader now has a platform, which is more convincing and informed than that of a journalist. This is the age of the Internet and power to the people!
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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