Immigrant Fictions: Contemporary Literature in an Age of by Rebecca Walkowitz
By Rebecca Walkowitz
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Additional resources for Immigrant Fictions: Contemporary Literature in an Age of Globalization
I don’t actually think it is “obscene” for you to compare your experience of “the Troubles” to that of a kid growing up in Northern Ireland. They are simply different. But this, I think, may also be one of the root causes of what you could call the abdication of modern English fiction from tackling certain subjects—this obsession, even in fiction, with the “real,” this notion that, somehow, unless you “own” a place, a time, a memory, or are “from” a particular ethnic group, “of” a certain sexuality, etcetera, you cannot, or should not, write about it.
This was initially while I was still living in Ossett, where I was born, but also then in Manchester, where I studied at the Polytechnic and was then unemployed. This book was rejected by every single British publisher in 1992. I then rapidly wrote a play, three screenplays, and another novel. Once again, all were eventually rejected. Following these rejections, the collapse of a relationship, and John Major’s 1992 reelection, I fled to Istanbul and, for the first time since I was eight, I wrote nothing for the eighteen months I was there.
However for GB84 and The Damned Utd, during my summer holidays back in West Yorkshire, I also used the local library in Wakefield for the Yorkshire Post. With GB84, I also spoke to/interviewed four people who had been involved in the strike itself, one of whom was a union official. During this phase, I am trying to place my own “memories” against what actually happened according to the papers—and it’s not only the news and the politics but every single detail from the weather, to the TV, to the gold mine that you can find in the classified adverts and personal columns.