The former The Smiths star released List of the Lost, his first published work of fiction, in September (15) but it met with overwhelmingly negative reviews, with most critics and many fans of the star branding it terrible.

Respected literary reviewers variously described the text as "utter garbage", "verbose, tangential, (and) unfocused", an "unpolished turd", and a "meandering ramble", and one even advised readers, "Do not read this book... All those who shepherded it to print should hang their heads in shame."

List of the Lost, about a 1970s sports team in Boston, Massachusetts, failed to fair much better among Morrissey's fans, with most online commentators admitting it was a let down.

However, Morrissey has now hit back, insisting much of the criticism was simply a personal attack on him by his enemies who are "desperate" for attention.

In an interview with Chilean website, he says, "I strongly believe in freedom of expression and critics have to say what they have to say. But often the criticisms are an attack against me as a human being and have nothing to do with what they're reading.

"Neither can you give the moral high ground against a book just because you don't like it. It wasn't written for you. You cannot try to work out what you think the author should have written instead of what he actually wrote.

"The majority of critics are desperate to put their stamp on it and want to start something that might bring them a bit of attention because they want it to be about them and their own personal taste. Nothing moves forwards in a world like this. If you ask the public not to buy the book you've given the book a level of attention which you don't want."

Morrissey also refused to respond to criticism that some sections of the book are misogynist, saying, "Some questions don't deserve an answer. And in any case there's always something that you're going to be accused of."