Co-Authoring a Book Is Like Three People Getting Together To Have a Baby

Evelyn Waugh? Agatha Christie? Hilary St. George Saunders? Leonard Lyons? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Collaborating on a complex project like writing a novel is impossible for many people. English writer Evelyn Waugh said something like the following:

Coauthoring a book is like three people getting together to have a baby.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In April 1943 the prominent gossip columnist Leonard Lyons wrote about British novelist Evelyn Waugh and British historian Hilary St. George Saunders. Waugh was surprised to learn that Saunders was able to work together with another writer to successfully coauthor a book. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Of Saunders’ other writings, Waugh said: “But he collaborates. I never can understand how two men can write a book together. To me, that’s like three people getting together to have a baby.”

In the age of surrogate mothers and in vitro fertilization the notion of three (or more) people collaborating to produce a child is no longer outlandish.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Co-Authoring a Book Is Like Three People Getting Together To Have a Baby

Notes:

  1. 1943 April 7, The Washington Post, Times Square Tattle by Leonard Lyons, Quote Page B6, Column 4, Washington D.C. (ProQuest)