orwellThrough exploring the intersections between who the writer is and what the writer produces and, to an extent, why, my aim is to promote the view that the short story form is an ideal mechanism through which identity politics can be carried, serviced and transmitted. At the same time, I’ll touch on how Britain’s changing demography and attitudes toward multiculturalism impact theme, voice and audience.

Creative writing of all types can function as protest while also feeding into an expanding reservoir holding political ideologies, countercultures or modalities of resistance: the long and well charted field of post colonial literature, part of which took an explicitly anti colonialist, reactionary stance certainly says something about the connections between identity, voice, literature and, indeed, border whether we take it to be physical, cultural or political. Similarly, the politics of gender, sexuality as well as social class have not escaped the attention of writers in their work. According to Paul Mills, a poet and lecturer specializing in creative writing,

‘All writing is influenced by the conditions of its production. These conditions might be political or personal, close at hand, far in the background, almost invisible, unknowable, or very much in the foreground and invasive.’  (Mills, 2006: 7).

In a sense, this is an extension of the write what you know mantra but I like the detail, the optionality and the inherent reference to context; the fact that the conditions – no matter what they are – make a difference to the writer. Meanwhile, in an essay called ‘Why I Write’, George Orwell talks about motives. For him, one reason why we write as opposed to what we write, is about,

‘Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc. etc.’  (Davison, 1996: 7).

Both quotes and the ideas they hold help define my own approach to writing and especially some of my own work, in particular the short stories I’ve written over the years. Preamble now over, I guess I’ll start, unlike some of my stories, at the beginning.

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