Tuesday, 1 March 2016

New publication - The Age of Dystopia: One Genre, Our Fears and Our Future

Louisa Mackay Demerjian's edited book, The Age of Dystopia: One Genre, Our Fears and Our Future has just been published!  The book "examines the recent popularity of the dystopian genre in literature and film, as well as connecting contemporary manifestations of dystopia to cultural trends and the implications of technological and social changes on the individual and society as a whole."

You can get a sense of the wide-ranging discussions presented in this book from the The Age of Dystopia: One Genre, Our Fears and Our Future contents page.

I am very pleased to have contributed to this book with a chapter on one of my favourite writers, the Australian children's and YA author Kirsty Murray.  Her dystopian novel from 2009, Vulture's Gate, forms the basis for my chapter which examines the representation of gender and imaginative use of the Australian landscape in the novel.  It was very satisfying to get the opportunity to write about another of the genres close to my heart, the dystopia. 

The title of my chapter, "Last Girl Alive": Kirsty Murray's Dystopian YA Novel Vulture's Gate, uses a quotation from Murray's novel in order to reflect on gender and the way in which it becomes a battleground, in a dystopian society characterised by desperation, violent conflict, sectarianism, environmental damage and abuses of power.   These are themes and ideas that reverberate throughout much YA and adult dystopian literature.  However, through its powerful depiction of Australian landscapes and characters, Murray's Vulture's Gate creates a unique and utterly compelling story.

Australian dystopian fiction, and literature in general, deserves much more critical recognition than it is currently receiving, and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to research and write about Kirsty Murray's work once again.

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