Novels ‘better at explaining world’s problems than reports’

Fiction – including poetry – should be taken just as seriously as facts-based research, according to the team from Manchester University and the London School of Economics (LSE).

Novels should be required reading because fiction “does not compromise on complexity, politics or readability in the way that academic literature sometimes does,” said Dr Dennis Rodgers from Manchester University’s Brooks World Poverty Institute.

He said: “Despite the regular flow of academic studies, expert reports, and policy position papers, it is arguably novelists who do as good a job – if not a better one – of representing and communicating the realities of international development. — Telegraph

2 thoughts on “Novels ‘better at explaining world’s problems than reports’

  1. Once upon a time, there was a blogger who replied to a comment left on his blog by typing, “It’s really a matter of audience. I think non-experts who aren’t motivated to learn a lot of background material in order to understand a complex factual report may be carried along by a good narrative that gives the reader a mystery to solve. The National Geographic articles or any travel writing are good examples of that kind of thing.”

  2. Of course, this reporter filed a report instead of a novel to tell us so…har… I wouldn’t say one is “better” than the other, but the point makes common sense to me. Writing is about staging conflict, and different modes and genres all succeed equally at staging different kinds of problems. Novels are good at showing “human” kinds of issues particular well.
    Thanks for the reminder of why we need creative writing.

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