When someone noticed last fall that Price’s second ghostwritten novel had outsold the entire Booker Prize short list, there was much wailing about the death of literature. This year, when one of her children’s books (“My Pony Care Book”) was nominated for a British Book Award, the Society of Authors was flooded with complaints from its members. (This was Price’s second nomination for a British Book Award; in 2005, she lost to Bill Clinton in the biography category.) Joanne Harris, author of “Chocolat,” groused in The Times that the awards “should be open only to people who write books, not to somebody who lends their name to a book, or who would have written a book if they had time but didn’t.” (Mark Booth, Price’s publisher, defended his author somewhat breezily: “I don’t see what the fuss is. It’s no different to the way the recordings of the Monkees were put together.”)
I brought up something her publisher had told me. “There is this thing about British celebrity,” he’d said. “There’s a kind of multilayered irony to it. And it’s often not clear who is mocking whom. Katie Price is completely tuned into that sensibility. Her presentation of herself is highly ironic.”
I asked her if that was true.
She looked at me blankly. “What do you mean?”