Posts Tagged The Guardian

Author Portraits

Most books carry a photograph of the author. But have you noticed that the picture is not just any old mug shot – it is often posed to suggest the type of work that the particular writer produces?

For example, in the front of my copy of the chick-lit novel It’s a Kind of Magic by Carole Matthews, Carole is smiling in a sisterly kind of way. But in the crime novel The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen, Tess’s face is much more sombre. The difference between the two women’s photos on their websites is even more pronounced and suited to the mood of their books.

I hadn’t thought about any of this until I read a short piece by Bidisha in the Guardian.   Bidisha’s piece was prompted by a new picture that’s come to light of Jane Austen but it got me thinking about my own ‘publicity’ photo which I email off to editors when requested and it also appears on this blog.

The picture was taken around three years ago and I wondered if it needed updating. In the intervening time I’ve added a few more grey hairs and produced another wrinkle or two – so should I be honest about my ageing or stick with the younger me?

Bidisha says that’s she’s been told, “…it’s good to look more haggard (in a picture) than you actually are, so that when people meet you they are pleasantly surprised.” 

I’m not sure that I totally agree with that statement but I don’t want to hide behind a false image so I got my other half to take a few head and shoulder shots of me in the garden.

Have a look at them and let me know whether I should switch to one of the new photos, stick with the old one – or maybe try again when I’ve had my hair done and got my best frock on!

Sally Jenkins - Writer

Picture A

Sally Jenkins - Writer

Picture B

Sally Jenkins

Picture C


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