In our glaringly unequal world, commercial success seems a panacea. It frees the infinitesimally few writers who achieve it to write: NYT

Mohsin hamidFor writers in our thoroughly marketized global culture and economy, the draws of commercial success are clear. As Virginia Woolf wrote 85 years ago: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,” circumstances likely “out of the question, unless her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble.”

Her words apply to men today as well. Ours is a glaringly unequal world. Money and a room of one’s own are distant prospects for many young writers. Commercial success seems, therefore, a panacea. It frees the infinitesimally few writers who achieve it to write.

Mohsin hamidDevin Leonard interviews novelist Mohsin Hamid on his Latest novel and McKinsey past in Bloomberg Businessweek

You had a successful career in business before you published your first novel. How did you end up as a writer? 
I stumbled into consulting. I didn’t know how you could make a living trying to write fiction. So I went to law school and had this enormous debt, so I interviewed for a job at McKinsey.