‘The greatest writers are also the greatest readers. Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes, Jeanette Winterson – they all read, as Woolf put it, ‘to refresh and exercise [their] own creative powers.’ They can’t stop themselves from writing about reading. They have origin stories of how reading and writing became as necessary as breathing. Julia Kerninon’s A Respectable Occupation joins the shelf of these biblioautobiographies; books on how writers crave books, how books beget books, how tricky it is to move from the position of the reader to that of the writer, and stand there feeling you’ve earned the right to call yourself, finally, a writer.’ – Lauren Elkin
The daughter of a pair of bohemian bookworms, Kerninon grew upto share their bibliomania and decided, aged five and a half, she would become a writer. Opening with a pilgrimage to the legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare & Co, her story entwines the French and Anglo-Saxon literary traditions, while sketching fine portraits of a disjointed yet most loving family.