The Politics of Fiction – WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

When I think of politics I think of well…Politics… Statements, speeches, dogma perhaps, deeply held beliefs, politicians! So I went along to The Politics of Fiction with probably the wrong idea. I should also come clean and admit that I haven’t read any of the three authors’ books. I feel like a bad bad blogger, but have paid penance by purchasing all three books at the end of the session.

Brannavan Gnanalingam , Pip Adam, and Rajorshi Chakraborti. Image supplied.
Brannavan Gnanalingam , Pip Adam, and Rajorshi Chakraborti. Image supplied.

The information about the session gave an indication of what the idea of politcal fiction means to the contributors.

Join Pip Adam, and Rajorshi Chakraborti, who both teach creative writing to people living in prisons, and Brannavan Gnanalingam to to discuss with Julie Hill the politics of writing fiction, and how it can become a tool to create empathy across divides.

Sounds good doesn’t it? As Rajorshi said, politics with a small ‘p’. So we call rule out anything about politicians then?

Julie Hill did a lovely job asking questions that suggested she had read these books in depth and done her research. (Ahem).The highlight for me, as it always is in these sessions, is when an author reads from their own book.  Why is this always so satisfying? Is it that the author knows their characters so well that they bring them to life, and gives them gravitas and personality that another reader can’t?

This was a session that wasn’t overly popular, perhaps the ‘p’ word put people off, and that is a shame because it was really interesting and a nice way to finish the day. For me fiction needs to be entertaining, to hold my attention. The characters need to be real and flawed beings, but if there is a message with a small ‘p’ then all the better

“Often my writing is a way to work out somthing i dont understand.”

“Invisible  people with invisible troubles”

“Existensial incompetence”

“I write about what we dont see”

“Sita (a character in Sodden Downstream) listens to people. She listens and learns and breaks down barriers”

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