Like most people my age I read the ubiquitous ‘big three’ dystopian novels (Atwood, Huxley, Orwell) in year 9 English and wrote some execrable essays about characterisation in them. Thanks to the pre-internet generosity of my teacher (and because she suspected it might be a good way of weaning me off the pulp space-operas I ploughed through by the shelf) I also walked around with Fahrenheit 451, A Clockwork Orange and Riddley Walker in my vast hold-all. (I carried every book for every subject with me at all times because I was terrified of forgetting one). Perhaps the two which made the biggest impact on me – deep cuts from my newly-qualified teacher’s collection – were We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and Nabokov’s Bend Sinister. The latter is a novel so spiritually horrifying that the author interjects towards the end to remind us that it isn’t real.
The story and characters of Miss Treadway and her world came to me in a great burst, an avalanche really, as I sat beside an ill child – filled with Calpol and blissfully asleep – watching At Bertrams’ Hotel in the dull, winter days of 2014. Read more…
Today marks the publication day of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists on Audible, read by the woman herself.
‘I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.