'The Literary Equivalent of a Big Mac': Self-Deprecating Quips From Authors

Ray Bradbury insisted he was "trash," Sedaris wrote about his laughable lack of productivity, and Vladimir Nabokov was pretty sure nobody knew how to say his name.

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AP / Pat Wellenbach

Everyone's self-deprecating once in a while—even literary geniuses. Or perhaps, especially literary geniuses? After all, they know the exact right words to string together to tease themselves, talking down their bodies of work or their personal histories—though usually, let's be fair, tempering it with a "but" at the end. These people have to sell books, after all.

Below, a few beloved authors make fun of themselves, as gently as the ego demands. Share your favorite, or add your own favorites in the comments!

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Presented by

Emily Temple is an editor at Flavorpill.

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