When Irish author Flann O'Brien submitted the manuscript for his second book, The Third Policeman, to a London publisher in 1940 it was rejected.
But rather than admit this lack of success to his friends, he pretended the manuscript had accidentally blown out of the boot of his car on a trip to Donegal and had been lost forever.
"This was a ruinous thing to say because he couldn't then turn around and say, 'Oh I've found it again,' so the manuscript sat very openly on his sideboard until his death," says Booker Prize-winning author Anne Enright. She has selected O'Brien's story to appear in an exhibition entitled Fail Better at the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin.
"The year after [O'Brien's] death, his wife got it published to a keen reception."
If O'Brien had been more open about his failure to get the book printed, he might have seen his work published within his lifetime.