Thursday, January 24, 2008

Three Cheers for A L Kennedy

I am thrilled that A L Kennedy's 'structurally sophisticated' novel Day (Stuart Jeffries, Guardian) has won the Costa, I am thrilled too that independent literary press Tindal Street's Cathryn O'Flynn was such a close runner, and I am thrilled to bits by A L's acceptance speech and some of the things she says in an interview with Stuart Jeffries in today's Guardian.

A L said in her acceptance speech that she 'felt a sense of impending doom surrounding British culture and said if she was starting out as a writer today she probably would not get picked up' (Mark Brown, Guardian). And she tells Stuart Jeffries something so important about culture and fiction that I replicate it here:
I've been reading about Raphael Lemkin [the Polish-Jewish lawyer who in 1944 sought to define the term genocide and whose work led to the UN's Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide]. He talked about the precursors to genocide, which are about preventing a population from expressing itself and from having an imagination, preventing a population from seeing themselves as human, redefining themselves as things. Coming across that was important for me. Then you look at the average day on British television - one big reality show... Fiction is participative. When you get into it, it's about you exercising your imagination. And if you can no longer exercise your imagination because it has atrophied... But use of the imagination means that you can make your life or someone else's life better... It means you have the imagination to change the government, to know when you're being lied to.
Post a Comment