Maybe it is the long periods of isolation spent penning their own stories or the jealousy over others being successful, but some authors really dislike others in their profession. Many of them are also not afraid to make their dislike for the work of other authors' public either. Here are just a few authors who had some choice words to say about the skills of their peers.
1. Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer penned numerous classic novels, such as The Executioner's Song, Armies of the Nigh, and The Naked and the Dead. Gore Vidal is best known for The City and the Pillar, Julian, Myra Brekinridge and Burr amongst others. Vidal was openly disdainful of Mailer's work and compared the author to Charles Manson. Mailer took a dim view to this insult and also didn't appreciate the fact that Vidal compared one of Mailer's books to three days of menstrual flow. Eventually, Mailer ended up throwing a drink at Vidal at a party before punching him. Knocked down, but not out, Vidal declared that, once again, words failed Norman Mailer. This was not the only physical altercation either, as Mailer once head-butted Vidal right before both of them appeared on a television interview!
2. Mark Twain and Jane Austen
Mark Twain, author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court had little love for many classical authors, but none irritated him more than Jane Austen. Twain hated the writing of Jane Austin so much, that he expressed amazement over her natural death instead of facing execution for literary crimes. In fact, his resentment for her work was so bad that he wrote a letter to his friend once expressing the urge to dig up Jane Austen and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone every time he attempts to read Pride and Prejudice. In another dig at Austin, Twain once mused whether her purpose was to make all her characters detestable. Unfortunately, Austen died 18 years before Twain was born, as she might have had some good comebacks for his scorn of her work.
3. Salman Rushdie and John Le Carre
John le Carré is one of the "50 greatest British writers since 1945" according to The Time. He is known for novels such as The Spy Who Came in From The Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Tailor of Panama. However, the former intelligence officer's criticism of The Satanic Verses by author Salman Rushdie ignited a 15-year long war of words between the two. When Le Carre said Rushdie's way with words is as self-serving as ever, the latter responded by calling him a pompous ass. The two eventually managed to put their differences aside after 15 years.
4. Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer
Stephen King is not known for holding back when voicing his displeasure about other writers' work during interviews. The author of Cujo, Salems Lot and The Shining seems to be particularly critical of Stephenie Meyer. While King thinks J. K Rowling is a terrific writer, he expressed the opinion that Meyer, author of the Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, can't write worth a darn. He also speculated that her success was purely because her fans are not ready for a real, adult depiction of romance, so they enjoy the safe joining of love and sex in her books. In a later interview, he once again blasted the Twilight books as "tweenager porn."
5. Harold Bloom and J. K. Rowling
While Stephen King is a big fan of J. K. Rowling's work, the same cannot be said about Harold Bloom. The author of more than 20 books of literary criticism and a novel, The Flight to Lucifer, was a lot more scathing of Rowling. Bloom claimed that Rowling's mind has no other style of writing due to it being governed by clichés and dead metaphors. Bloom described his ordeal of reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as one of great suffering. Harry Potter fans were understandably upset, but J. K. Rowling chose not to retort.
6. James Patterson and Stephen King
One author who sold more books than Stephen King and J. K. Rowling is James Patterson. The writer of the Alex Cross titles such as Along Came a Spider, Kiss The Girls and Cross Justice has sold millions of copies of his novels worldwide and writes across multiple genres. He is also immensely productive and almost releases more novels per year than what others publish in a lifetime. None of this managed to impress Stephen King, who described Patterson as a terrible writer. King, on another occasion, mentioned that he doesn't respect Patterson's books because every one is the same. This puzzled James Patterson, who chose not to start a feud and instead mentioned that his only crime was selling millions of books.