Does Fantasy Have a Place in Literature?
20th May 2012 in Writing
This week I am debating: does fantasy have a place in literature?
I aim to write fantasy in the same way that Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Angela Carter write fantasy. My stories aren’t as intelligent or as finely-wrought as the work of those great authors, but I have a similar aim: using the fantastical to further the story, and not the other way around. I’m usually classed as a literary fiction writer, but I have no qualms whatsoever about being called a fantasy writer. I do write about mermaids, monsters, changelings, selkies and the apocalypse – but I also write real-world stories with not a hint of the fantastical. It might not be true for all authors and all stories, but in my own work I like to use fantasy elements in a more metaphorical sense, rather than them being the whole point of the story. But I want to know what YOU think.
On Thursday the 24th of May at 7pm, I’ll be taking part in the Scottish Writers’ Centre debate on whether science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal have a place in literature. I’ll be joined by novelists Roy Gill, Douglas Thompson and Neil Williamson, comic book author Gordon Robertson, and National Library of Scotland curator John Birch. (Note: I’m the only female, which was a surprise to me: although sci-fi/fantasy is sometimes seen as a boys’ club, in my experience it has plenty of female fans and practitioners.) The debate is FREE, so do come along to the CCA in Glasgow.
And if you can’t make it to the debate, talk to me now! What are your thoughts on the purpose of fantasy in literature? Do you feel that it’s important to draw lines between real-world, literary stories and the more whimsical, unreal world of fantasy? Are there any topics or ideas that you’d like to see explored in this debate?