Writing Nowhere – Rowan B Fortune
The alleged death of utopian fiction and its eclipsing by dystopia is, Rowan Fortune, cogently argues, grossly exaggerated. Reprising elements of their doctoral thesis on utopian fiction, Fortune provides not only an extensive chronology of utopia, but also gives writers a sense of the many flavours of this genre, arguing that its range and reach is as vibrant as ever and all the more urgent. This is a genre intensely in communication with itself, so that one cannot understand the richness of the tradition (nor what makes a good dystopias) without a broad reading. Morris makes less sense without Bellamy, Bacon without Andreae, and so on …
Maintaining a dialogue that goes back to the beginnings of modernity (to More’s moral objections to the emerging class forces of his period, the violences of the enclosures and the new secular form of rulership) Rowan Fortune demonstrates, in their lively and densely packed analysis, how concerns about the ordering of a good society; of women’s suffering the patriarchy; of people oppressed by racism; of ecology … are at the heart of utopian discourse.
Moreover, Writing Nowhere, establishes not only that utopia still has much to say, but that its ability to straightforwardly convey the most intimate values of the author is a sign of the genre’s essential courage. And, in terms of narrative, there remains room to innovate so that, ‘The best way to read utopia is to read with the intention of writing your own.’ Writing Nowhere will guide you in this adventure. Whether you write short stories or novels, it will set you on the road to engaging powerfully in the utopic tradition, inspiring you to respond to it directly in what you write.
Rowan B Fortune is an author of strange utopias and gothic parables, a philosophical optimist in love with fiction’s capacity to expose, paraphrasing Pascal, the extraordinary in the ordinary. Currently a denizen of London, Rowan runs Cinnamon Press’s services to authors, including the Leaf by Leaf imprint, and also runs the editing service, Rowan Tree Editing. Rowan has a PhD in creative writing, specialising in utopian fiction, and a background in publishing, journalism and university lecturing.
You can find their Patreon, with essays, writing tips, prompts and stories here.