Literature Must Fall (2019)

Literature Must Fall is not your typical literature festival; it is not about celebrating literature or placing writers on a pedestal. Instead, this event intends to demystify literature, challenging it head-on, questioning the values we pour into books and the authority we give to writers, confronting the power that the publishing industry holds. Through critique, discussion and self-reflection we will explore what it could mean to decolonise literature today.

Who Gets To Imagine The Future? Science Fiction, Fantasy, Futurities

One of Birmingham’s most famous literary exports is J.R.R.Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s legacy is controversial; his fiction’s racism bleeds into the way writers have imagined different worlds through fantasy. At the same time, Birmingham is the home of afrofuturists, memory workers and decolonialists, finding ways to create alternative trajectories and sustainable futures for us all. On this panel we consider the colonial roots of science fiction and fantasy writing and how writers are responding (or ignoring!) those conventions. When writing about alternative universes or imagining the future, how do we not reproduce colonial power relations and forms? Why is it ‘mythology’ when it’s a non-white writer and ‘fantasy’ when it’s a white writer? Who gets to imagine the future?

Panellists: Florence OkoyeLerah Mae BarcenillaJennifer Makumbi and Corey Brotherson
Chair: Sumaya Kassim

Photo from @CoreyBrotherson

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