Food is a historically contentious subject – how much does it cost, how much should we eat, how do we produce it, how do we distribute it, how does it affects our health. Climate change, modern technologies, the advent of cheaply produced mass marketed food are all questions in an on going debate about human health, happiness, power and politics.
2018 saw the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, so a little belatedly this prompted a re reading in my children’s fiction reading group. I was interested in examining the thesis that the book’s meaning/main theme could be ‘parental responsibility’ rather than the Promethian dangers of science.
Geraldine McCaughrean’s recent CILIP winner’s speech in June called on writers to flood children with words, thereby giving them the tools ‘to reason their way out of subjugation. You need words to think for yourself.’
Recently I re-tweeted the link to Jonathan Coe’s November 2017 Guardian article on politics and kid's fiction, ‘Writing a children’s book for our turbulent times.’ A well known children’s author took me gently to task - was politics really a good thing in children's fiction?
In my stories I explore the question of emotional survival through the metaphor of physical survival - hunger and scarcity of food. I like to think of it, as someone once wrote about Vilette, a novel by Charlotte Bronte, as exploring both ‘emotional and physical hunger’.