Poor old Declan Fry! That awful Ivor Indyk has written him a mean email hinting that Fry’s effusive review of Jessica Au’s Cold Enough for Snow may have been tad pretentious. Calling Fry – to his avatar face! – “a bullshit artist when it comes to literary criticism” and (gasp) “making it obvious”.
Now Dec Fry has released the dirty message on Twitter and got the cancel culture drums tap tap tapping away at a furious rate. ‘Down with the Professor!’ ‘Death to Elite Publishing!’ ‘Stop Imperious Insults About Pretentious Thoughts!’ ‘Defund the Over-Opinionated White Male!’
This might go all the way to our literary equivalent to the supreme court, the Australia Council and its funding decisions (if some Tweeters get their way #agreewithemeorelse).
Apparently, Ivor Indyk is renowned for these ‘hot takes’, messaging people with withering essay-length emails that challenge the connections between poetry and identity politics, or simply snapping at comers and goers at literary festivals mistakenly basking in excessive mediocrity and glibness. Making sarcastic asides about them all to boot!
This may not seem on a par with a relentless series of strikes from the Grand Wizard of the KKK, but there it is. Behind this refined and pioneering editor of Oz Lit, the esteemed publisher of Giramondo Books, lies a beast the likes of which we have not seen since Black Books was last having a re-run on TV!
A call has gone out across the Twitterverse against Indyk and it is getting ugly. But it all seems rather strange to me as Poor Old Dec (Fry), I thought, had built up some of his rep by inhabiting his very own Not-Niceness Department, kneecapping local literary dwarfs and challenging arse-kissing incestuousness in every corner he could spotlight across the country where writers over the age of 35 dwelt and cowered from his verbal swordplay. Now it’s the green light on the vulnerablity button? I just don’t get it.
Anyway, you can read Fry’s review below – the one that sparked Ivor Indyk’s ire – but you may be surprised to see just how positive it is, lavish even in its good thoughts about a book that Giramondo published!
So why would Ivor be so mean and nasty in his rather direct message to Declan Fry? Fry was doing the cranky so-and-so a favour, no?
Well, behind the palimpsest of praise from Fry one might detect a little too much look-at-moi intellectualising. Happens to the best of us, Dec. Don’t fret! You start off saying ‘palimpsest’ and before you know it you’re saying ‘milieu’ next, till god knows where it ends during someone’s dinner table conversation on a cold night in Braidwood. I’ve done it myself, old chap. Just don’t do it anywhere near Ivor’s table, know what I mean?
Anyway the literary milieu is up in arms. Sensitivity readers are baying for blood. “Poor Old Dec vs Ivor the Terrible.” It’s all on. Place your bets. The literary cage fight of the century!!!…
In the meanwhile you can read Declan Fry’s review below and make your own call. The rest of the overinflated hot air is floating around online. Maybe it’s Joe Rogan’s fault? Or Whoopi Goldberg’s? God this is getting complicated!!… tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap….