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Monday, 15 September 2008

My Predictions for Multicultural Fiction

by Suzan Abrams

*I wrote this article about 2 years ago and my predictions are ringing true.

How will the world classify multicultural fiction in the future?

It is my guess that an author’s nationality will always dictate his/her heritage for a novel, as a serious focus on identity.

This will stem about as emigration increases and people choose their green pastures to live and work in. Which won’t be their homeland.

Writers will keep flitting to different cities as is already the case with a whole new breed of contemporary novelists. Still, they will always be defined as part of the town in which they were born. This too, as a necessary source of identity for fiction.

But global opportunities and a new creativity are fast conquering the world and there will come a day when English literature for fiction will offer several new major forms that will define an acceptable brand-new reading taste and stay seriously in demand.

Will there be a place for multi-cultural fiction that dictates hometowns, cultures, traditions, quiet anecdotes and stories for locals by locals without the influence of cross-country cultures? Yes, but I feel only in a few established continents.

Yes, but I feel only in a few established continents. Will there be arrogant prejudice about this as being a true traditional literature over something that is multi-cultural especially in the new Asia?

I think an individual global identity will still win the day in this new borderless world.

And I don’t think we’ve witnessed a major literary impact for multi-cultural fiction yet though there are interesting buds sprouting about the place.

I believe there will always be a place for homegrown fiction in English but some countries may sell their stories better than others. Authors will dip into local flavours and experiences to combine multi-faceted identities in a pursuit for each individual soul.

Which means that the world audience will still read about a cow wash (pictured above) in a little Balinese village for instance, but the plot is unlikely to stop in that small town.

The story will probably move further afield before the last page ends, to embrace extraordinary adventures for the reader.

So don’t be surprised if in 10 years times, purely traditional Asian literature based only on local observations and without any outside influences, turns into a specialised niche market.

Photo credit (above) Jim Richter 2003 (Bali)

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