Meghan’s book deal quizzed by Naga as authors say ‘Disheartening for first time writers’

BBC Breakfast: Naga Munchetty apologises for 'mean' question

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Meghan Markle recently announced that she was releasing a new book titled The Bench, which highlights the special bond between fathers and sons. The Duchess of Sussex revealed she had been inspired by Prince Harry’s relationship with their baby Archie. BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty has since addressed the royal’s latest move.

The 46-year-old was joined by children’s authors Mimi Thebo and Olaf Falafel on BBC Radio 5Live earlier this week.

The broadcaster discussed the topic surrounding celebrities and traditional authors vying for book sales in an oversaturated market, with Naga suggesting that high-profile celebrities may get more sales than a lesser known author due to their platform.

Speaking on her show, Naga began: “Meghan Markle is set to publish a children’s book inspired by her husband Prince Harry and their son Archie.

“The Duchess of Sussex joins a growing list of high-profile figures and celebrities who have tried their hand in this field.

“But what do traditional children’s authors think about this? What do they think about these newcomers coming in and crowding the field, perhaps?”

She went on: “How do you both feel about high profile celebrities using their platform to enter this children’s book market and inevitably have a headstart when it comes to sales?”

Both Mimi and Olaf wished the Duchess success with her new offering but added the impact can be “disheartening” for many aspiring writers.

US-born children’s author, Mimi, shared that it could be an issue for the industry.

Mimi replied: “I don’t wish anybody any harm and I certainly wish Meghan Markle all the best but it is a bit of a problem for us.

“Authors income has fallen by 42 per cent since 2005 and this is £5.5 billion industry with book sales in the UK.”

She continued: “Children’s fiction has done remarkably well over the past few years. Especially during the pandemic but all of the income keeps falling and it’s getting harder and harder to be commissioned.”

Mimi, who also teaches writing, admitted it can be “disheartening for students”.


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“They feel really disheartened when these news items come out and they are struggling to get their first book deal and they’ve spent four to five years writing their hearts out,” Mimi said.

“Sometimes the celebrity work is not the quality that we would expect and it’s really disheartening for my students.”

Olaf, who is a comedian, author and illustrator echoed a similar sentiment.

Naga quizzed: “Olaf, where do you sit on this?”

He replied: “Firmly on the fence. It is a difficult one because I haven’t read Meghan’s book so it could be amazing. It could be fantastic. So, I can’t judge.

“I echo Mimi and I wish [Meghan] the best.”

Olaf added: “It can be disheartening because it’s such a tough area to break into.”

Their comments come after Meghan announced the release of her new book The Bench, which is set to be released next month.

In a statement, the Duchess said: “The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after Archie was born. That poem became this story.

She added: “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine.”

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