The Boston Phoenix recently ran an article entitled Aesthetic genius - Why can’t more writers be smart enough to be beautiful, handsome, or at least cute?

The jist was that authors are now expected to also be sex symbols. Naming (and including photos) of young, good-looking authors including Marisha Pessl ("an Audrey Hepburn in sweet black-and-white tones"), Jonathan Safran Foer ("the definition of nerd-handsome") and Nell Freudenberger ("slender figure, large eyes, and pert nose"), the article included the argument that perhaps some of these authors wouldn't have been published if they weren't so damn foxy.

But is it plain jealously - not only have they been published, but they have the temerity to also be attractive!? Or is there something in it - in this looks-obsessed age, is it a surprise that we'd prefer author photos we can study with a smile, rather than a shriek?

Basically, Hot Young Authors - Yay or Nay and Why?

Also, since - as someone pointed out in the comments to the article - Photoshop means everyone can be made to look good in a photo, we'd love to hear from any authors who may be reading: does your author photo actually look like you?

[Don't forget it's Yay or Nay day at Hippyshopper, Bridalwave, Dollymix, Corrie Blog, Catwalk Queen, Kiss and Makeup, The Bag Lady, Shoewawa and Shiny Shiny, too!]


  • Ooh, that&#39s a good point, Kim! Why *shouldn&#39t* writers be sex symbols?! :)

  • I just read the Boston Phoenix article...and, wow. Does that guy sound bitter or what? Still, he did have some interesting points.

    I think it would be a shame if a book only got published because of the looks of the author. Unfair to all those struggling, ordinary-looking writers out there. Also, it strikes me as equally shameful if an author&#39s attractiveness detracted from a wonderfully written work, in the manner of some ridiculous, mean-spirited backlash.

    That being said, if writers were to become the celebrities and superstars of our world--people who are actually creative, talented, and interesting (vs. people who merely read the lines that other people have written for them, or worse, the Paris Hiltons of the world!)...I would certainly be in favour of that!

  • Ha! I knew you&#39d comment, Shanna - thanks.

    And I totally agree with you.

    And I really wish I had someone to remove my &#39halo of frizz&#39 on a daily basis...

  • I do think the focus should be more on the writing than on the author, and if you&#39re making author appearance a factor, I think it should really be the whole package and not just the looks. So it&#39s not so much about appearance as it is the author being the kind of person you&#39d expect to have written that kind of book. So, if the book in question is funny, cute and quirky, it helps if the author manages to be funny, cute and quirky. However, I&#39d want the author of a deep, historical tome to be more academic looking and not a young hottie, so "young and cute" isn&#39t always a selling point for me.

    My author photo was somewhat Photoshopped, but it really does look like me. People have recognized me from it. The Photoshopping was more to make it something that would print well. For instance, I have curly hair, which means there&#39s some frizz, which prints as a kind of hazy blur, so the photographer removed the halo of frizz.

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