Once upon a time I was a copywriter. Now I am only a writer. But as they say, once a cop always a cop, the same goes for copywriters too- once a copywriter always a copywriter. I haven’t been able to completely exorcise the copywriter within and spend most of the time reading ads in newspapers and magazines. Though I had been a copywriter for only two years it has left its mark on me.
Anything about copywriters and copywriters catches my eye and I eagerly read what is written about this strange breed of writers. I was leafing through the latest issue of Tehelka (now in magazine format) in Odyssey the other day and an article on Indra Sinha, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, mentioned that he had been a copywriter. I bought the magazine to read it at leisure. By the way Tehelka carries a lot of stuff about books, writers and such literary topics written in an interesting way.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to read that Indra Sinha was a renowned copywriter in London and had produced hard hitting copy. The article said that he had written a novel earlier but the title was not mentioned. However if Indra Sinha wins the Man Booker Prize this year then he will be joining another ex-copywriter who had not only won the Booker but also the Booker of Bookers- Salman Rushdie.
WRITERS WHO WERE COPYWRITERS
Sometime back, being a copywriter, I began to take notice of writers who had earlier been copywriters and soon my list of such writers began to grow to include some truly astounding writers like Joseph Heller and my favorite writer- Elmore Leonard. I am giving the bare list here but in later posts I will add more about such writers and the agencies, campaigns and such stuff.
Here’s the list of writers who were copywriters (and the books they wrote)
Elmore Leonard- Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky, Bandits, Glitz, Pronto etc
Joseph Heller- Catch 22, As Good As Gold
Eric Ambler- Passage of Arms, Journey unto Fear, A Coffin for Dimitrios
Clive Cussler- Mayday!, Raise the Titanic, Iceberg etc
Sherwood Anderson- Winesburg, Ohio; Mid-American Chants, The Egg & Other Stories
Peter Mayle- A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence, Acquired Tastes
Lawrence Kasdan (scriptwriter)- Bodyguard, Bodyheat
Salman Rushdie- Satanic Verses, Midnight’s Children, Shame, Grimus, etc.