Carmen Callil defends decision to quit Booker panel and says dislike of author based on literary shortcomings
"This kerfuffle is an ad feminam attack from the boys and, of course, the odd girl, but mainly it's a boyzones attack. Take Robert McCrum, for instance, who certainly has his critics, but they, unlike him, do not have instant access to the media. Yet he feels free to badmouth me as a human being, rather than discuss the ideas and issues involved." Callil "never thought of feminism for one second" when she was considering Roth's work. "I may have founded Virago 40 years ago but I'm a creature of books, of writing," she said. "It never occurred to me and it comes as a surprise to me. I'd no idea – and I'm nearly 73 for goodness sake – I had no idea that his work was objected to because he is seen as a misogynist.
"My objections are literary. If you take his best book, American Pastoral, it is wonderful about women. If Philip Roth doesn't like someone, it is himself, not women."