If I was Wendy I’d be right chuffed by Sophie Masson’s compliment about her “lovely, limpid” prose style (an evaluation which I share, for what it’s worth). Sophie should know, being no mean exponent of the art of lovely, limpid prose herself.
I find that immersion in turgid legal prose for most of the week makes it almost impossible to sustain an elegant prose style. It might be just an excuse for my own inadequacies, but I know my CDU Law School colleague Stephen Gray, who won The Australian/ Vogel Literary Award in 2000 for his novel The Artist is a Thief, has the same problem. He has to take substantial time away from reading and writing legal prose before he finds his fictional voice.
I wonder how John Mortimer managed to maintain such a prodigious fiction output while pursuing a long career at the Bar. In fact he observes (though on a slightly different point):
Much of the law, of course, is terribly tedious and Mortimer regrets having read it at Oxford University. “Knowing the law is not much help for an advocate. In fact, it’s a bit of a disadvantage, cramps your style.”
Finally, apropos of nothing in particular, here’s an interesting quote from a review of Stephen Gray’s novel:
It is ironic that such a self-conscious and sophisticated meditation upon appropriation and authenticity should win The Australian/ Vogel Literary Award. The inaugural award in 1980 was won by Paul Radley, who later revealed his books were mostly written by his uncle, and in 1993 it was won by Helen Demidenko, aka Darville, who had lied about her Ukrainian background and family history.