By Alexandra Israel, publicist
Young-Adult dystopian novels have hit the publishing marketplace, and hard: gone are the days when want-to-be writers dreamed of becoming the next Dante or Milton. Becoming the next Suzanne Collins, John, Green, or J.K. Rowling has taken center stage. In a recent New York Times article that was published on January 31 called “Our Young-Adult Dystopia” the author examines the rise of dystopia novels, and how the popular uprising of this genre has scrambled reader’s sense of what is “good” literature as well as what it really means to be a writer.
Michelle Dean, the author of the article, cleverly points out that for Dante and Milton becoming a writer didn’t have the incredible fanfare that it does today: “It wasn’t always a lucrative thing, writing grand, sweeping, fantastical stories, you know. It was a job for nose-to-the-grindstone, writing-for-the-ages types, and worldly rewards were love.”
While one can’t deny that Dante or Milton did not live in the same kind of luxury or got to bask in the same amount of fame that Suzanne Collins, John Green or J.K. Rowling did, this article led me to think about a couple of different related topics: why do we love dystopian novels so much, and what is it like to achieve such fame and fortune in an instant?
Dystopian novels by definition are “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.” Perhaps readers are drawn to accepting the world as an imperfect place, and dystopian novels better illuminate the worst that could happen.
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