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Literature not meant to change the world:Booker-winning author

New Delhi, Jan 22, 2017 (PTI) 16:03 IST
 Booker-winning Australian writer Richard Flanagan. Image courtesy Twitter.
Booker-winning Australian writer Richard Flanagan today dismissed the presumption that the rise of US President Donald Trump was a "failure of literature", saying that literature is an aspect of life and its role is not to change the world.

He said Trump's win was not an outcome of great storytelling, but catering to the "fundamental discontent".

"There has been a profound shift in politics in the West. People no longer believe politicians can bring change...There is renewed interest in books. They go back to find the meaning of life.

"The appeal of books is growing. They are becoming more important..We continue to see the world through stories," he said.

He said the challenge for both politicians and people was to restore the meaning of life.
He said a writer can have no borders and it is his responsibility to touch human ins tuitions.

According to him books possess an "extraordinary power" and offer a kind of solace unlike any other art form.

He said great novels deal with "fundamental truths" and that is precisely the reason they are timeless and are read again and again.

"Books offer a form of solace no other art form provides. Books have extraordinary power and never let us feel alone," Flanagan said.

Terming novel as the "greatest invention" of humanity, he said the genre is the "most complex" and "rich tradition" of story telling.

"Great novels are about fundamental truths. That is why we return to them. Sometimes they are also about unpleasant truths. But we must acknowledge that we are also those things," he said.

"We love the novel because it allows us to live thousand lives which we know we could have lived. There are infinite possibilities for human beings," Flanagan said.

Noting that truth for a fiction writer is "spiritual truth", Flanagan said the author uses "illusions" of story to seek deeper truths.

He said the books are slow and if writers show integrity and courage, their voices will resonate across oceans.

About his own Booker-winning novel titled "The Narrow Road to the Deep North", Flanagan said his father who was a prisoner of war inspired him to write it and was "frightened" to write it initially.

The writer who is attending the ongoing Jaipur Literature festival here, said his purpose of coming to the literary extravaganza was to "discover new books and new authors."

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