CW writers deny giving space to climate change in their fiction

My Report Blog,17 April 2010


CW writers deny giving space to climate change in their fiction

New Delhi, Apr 11 (UNI) Award-winning writers in the Commonwealth region believe that writing about climate change and getting involved in the global warming discussion is not their forte.

Expressing their immense love for fiction, they feel discussing climate change in their books and making the world leaders and their people realise their duties to bring about a revolution is calling for friction.

”We love fiction, but not friction,” they say.

Regional winners of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010, to be held here tomorrow, are in the Capital to promote quality literature through a series of discussions and events among the people.

As a part of this run-up to the event, a panel discussion on ”Writing in a Changing Climate”, hosted by Crossword bookstore, was held last evening. It was attended by three of the finalists – Daniyal Mueenuddin, Shandy Mitchell and Michael Crummey who
interacted with young readers on the topic.

”You are trying to use a wrong instrument. Fiction is about describing things but not taking any positions”, Mueenuddin a writer from Pakistan, said. He has won critical acclaim with his first collection of stories- ‘In Other Rooms and Other Wonders’.

Supporting his view, Mitchell, a Canadian writer, said, ”This is true. I cannot imagine myself taking a position to convince others. The non-fiction world is enough for that”. Her first book ‘The Unbroken Sky’, has been nominated under the Best First Book prize category.

She asserted that fiction writers write with naturalism and never with a set mind. ” The ideas keep generating while you write. However, if writing for climate change, then it will be for a purpose, a purpose that’s may be politically motivated,” she said.

Crummey, another Canadian writer whose book ”Galore” has been shortlisted in the Best Book category, added, ”If one starts writing with a political motive, 99 per cent it will come out as a bad fiction”.

He explained, ”What is important for a fiction novel is a good story because only that can travel, irrespective of what message it passes on”.

However, this thought process of the writers making them shy away from such an important issue left the audience disappointed, who also put their point in front of them.

”If one goes back to the history, he will find that writers have done wonders in bringing about a change in the mindset of people and society as a whole. I can feel that you are undermining your capabilities”, Ashok Sehgal, a banker, pointed.

Commonwealth Foundation’s director Mark Collins was also present on the occasion.

The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize organised and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation, is a leading award for fiction that was first awarded in 1987. The aim of the prize is to encourage new Commonwealth fiction, and to ensure that works of merit reach a wider audience outside their country of origin.