The Power of Dystopian Fiction

The end is in sight for my first work of fiction.  So close that, with some trepidation,  I have started making a shortlist of possible agents to approach but, despite the current feeling of euphoria inside my snug, self-achievement bubble, I am well aware that the odds of finding one are stacked against me.

i will not take this personally

Agents and publishers currently crave Dystopian drama.  I have waded, uncomfortably, through Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, marvelling at the brilliance of her writing whilst fighting the need to throw up, faced with women being forced into sexual servitude.  Powerful stuff.

So realistically, what chance do I have of getting my bittersweet story of life and love into print?  To give it a chance to sate the voracious appetites of erudite readers who are ready to take a break from dystopian dramas and escape to real life in a far from perfect world.

Looking at the 2017 Longlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, eventually won by Naomi Alderman for her dystopian work The Power, described by the doyenne of dystopia herself, Margaret Atwood, as

‘Electrifying!  Shocking! Will knock your socks off!  Then you’ll think twice, about everything.’

Pretty shocking that Margaret Atwood didn’t even make the 2017 Bailey’s Shortlist of 6.  So … surrounded by a library of  brilliant works of fiction, I stand more than just a reasonable chance of getting my fingers burned, but my bubble hasn’t burst quite yet.  I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo

The Power, Naomi Alderman

Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood

Little Deaths                                     Emma Flint

The Mare                                           Mary Gaitskill

The Dark Circle                                 Linda Grant

The Lesser Bohemians                    Eimear McBride

Midwinter                                          Fiona Melrose

The Sport of Kings                            C.E. Morgan

The Woman Next Door                   Yewande Omotoso

The Lonely Hearts Hotel                Heather O’Neill

The Essex Serpent                           Sarah Perry

Barkskins                                           Annie Proulx

First Love                                         Gwendoline Riley

Do Not Say We Have Nothing      Madeleine Thien

The Gustav Sonata                         Rose Tremain

 Click here for Ted-Ed video – 16th November 2016

Why do we love (and need) dystopian literature 

2 thoughts on “The Power of Dystopian Fiction

Add yours

  1. Toi-toi, fingers crossed and all that. So maybe some prefer the dystopia stuff, I don’t. I get enough gut wrenching and tears from life, it’s enough to read the newspapers. I prefer hope, and love, and challenges overcome in my books.


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