It’s a dream that so many of us secretly harbour: to write a book and see it published. So we can completely understand why Laura Kalbag took to Twitter to share her excitement over her own dream come true, Accessibility for Everyone.
“I’ve written a book,” she announced proudly. “It’s coming out very soon.”
The author was soon flooded with congratulatory messages – but, as ever, the scent of happiness and self-achievement soon piqued the interests of a slumbering social media troll.
Clambering out from beneath his (probably metaphorical) bridge, designer Erik Spiekermann decided to belittle Kalbag’s success using the best tools at his disposal: ingrained misogyny and mansplaining.
“Actually, you wrote a text,” he remarked snidely. “It took a few other people and skills to make that into a book.”
Yes, he really was that obnoxious.
Sorry, I’m so new, I’m still learning the correct language. Nothing I wrote, let alone the book, would be worthwhile without other people.— Laura Kalbag (@laurakalbag) August 18, 2017
Kalbag’s confidence – as Spiekermann had no doubt intended – was shattered by the comment, and the author responded with an apology.
“Sorry, I’m so new,” she said, “and I’m still learning the correct language. Nothing I wrote, let alone the book, would be worthwhile without other people.”
But, after spotting Kalbag’s response, fellow author JK Rowling decided to step in to defend, congratulate and expertly skewer Spiekermann’s ridiculous argument.
“Congratulations on writing your first book, Laura,” said Rowling. “Other people edited, copy-edited, proof-read, printed and bound it. You wrote it. Be proud.”
Congratulations on writing your first book, Laura. Other people edited, copyedited, proofread, printed and bound it. You wrote. Be proud x— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 19, 2017
And Rowling wasn’t the only member of the #sisterhood to call out Spiekermann’s ignorance and boost Kalbag’s confidence.
Laura, you wrote a book. Period. People helped edit, print, copyright the book, but you wrote the book. Don't let anyone take your joy away.— Sara Soueidan ? (@SaraSoueidan) August 19, 2017
Laura, I'm an editor, and I say... YOU WROTE A BOOK! It looks like a really good one, too. Congratulations!!!— Molly B (@VintageReader) August 19, 2017
Laura, don't apologize to mansplainers. They deserve nothing more than sarcasm. You wrote a book, don't let anyone take that away from you.— Lea Verou (@LeaVerou) August 19, 2017
You wrote a book I'm looking forward to read, don't let a strange angry man take that from you pleaaaase 🤗🤗🤗— Stéphanie Walter 🦊 (@WalterStephanie) August 19, 2017
You absolutely wrote a book. And congratulations on the accomplishment.— roxane gay (@rgay) August 19, 2017
Why? Just, why?— Jacques Favreau (@betaorbust) August 19, 2017
Literally *zero* people read that & thought she was including any book making tasks beyond the colloquial use of authorship.
OH HEY LOOK GUYS A MANSPLAINER IN THE WILD 🙄🙄🙄 thanks for your expertise and all but maybe could you just not in the future. Thanks.— Jill Shirley (@jilliannicola) August 19, 2017
While Spiekermann has done his best to defend his actions (“You’d be surprised how little most other people know about it. I write, design, set & print books, so I know.”), he has since deleted the original tweet.
It’s also worth pointing out that Spierkemann actually lists writing books as one of the things that he does for a living, so make of that what you will.
Images: Rex Features