Since taking part in my university’s student led conference on the theme, ‘What do we read? Why do we read?’ at which I presented on the subject of dystopian literature and why we read it. I have been thinking about why I read, and write, and where the love for both came from.
For me, I always wrote, I had a typewriter for Christmas at the age of 4 or 5 and absolutely loved it, and loved writing, later at the age of perhaps 12 I remember being at the word processor writing ‘books’ for my mum. I remember 2 prominently one called the GORDY’s about a chimera like race, with each letter representing a different animal, sadly I do not remember which animals. The other was a story about a group of teenagers camping on a river side cliff, one dies but is saved by the river goddess, only on the premise they return every anniversary and make a replacement sacrifice. Yeah, I may not have been the most normal of kids, but I loved to write, always.
Reading for pleasure, was also, always there, but the studying of literature, the deeper love of dissecting literature, getting more from it, that came later, I can almost pinpoint the moment. At the age of 16, studying literature for my A-Levels, I first read Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ And I fell in love with reading, I realised that reading, and so writing, could be so much more, it could do so much. It could say so much more, it was not only an escape, a fantasy to go to, another world to inhabit. But it could inhabit my own world, the real world, and help me to question and learn and discover things I might never have thought of before.
And so now I prepare to write my thesis on dystopian literature, because it is the literature that showed me there could be more, that I could question the world through writing. It is the writing I wish I could create. A way to challenge the world, to challenge the control and censorship all around us, to challenge religion and politics, and sometimes, that feels more important now, than ever.