mardi, mars 07, 2006

Fiction and Politics

The January/February issue of Poets&Writers included the article The Politics of Fiction by Daniel Nester. The question at hand was simple: "Can political fiction matter?"

While most political literature you will find today is non-fiction or memoir, there is a fair-share amount of political fiction, as well. Two anthologies, the 2003 released Politically Inspired and its new follow-up Stumbling and Raging: More Politically Inspired Fiction (MacAdams/Cage) prove political fiction can have an effect on the page and off.

Contributor David Amsden tells P&W that an anthology is "an active document of writers trying to process things that are impossible to process."

What's really special about the anthologies is that they are politically inspired creatively and actively, too. Politically Inspired shares its sales with the Boston-based Oxfam America. Stumbling and Raging will donate its sales to the "progressive candidates" in the 2006 midterm elections.

Stephen Elliot, editor of Stumbling and Raging is not concerned with the best-selling "competition" (i.e. A Time to Run, Washingtonienne, Against All Enemies) because, as he told P&W, Stumbling and Raging "is so much better written than all that!"

A better comparison to the quality of the anthologies might be You Shall Know Our Velocity by the exponentially popular Dave Eggers. The ability for fiction, or more specifically, "character-driven literary fiction" - to offer further insight into the character/us/you/them. An "emotional truth" can be conveyed in fiction that can not be offered in other genres.

So good news to you politically motivated creative-types! Political fiction might have a new place in our libraries, but beware: The fine art lies in the painting. You cannot overshadow the narrative arc with your propaganda...the story should be able to stand on its own two feet.