Development Fiction

Exploring 'development' through all things fiction


Fiction, development, and policy

Where are we going with humanitarianism?

I picked up David Rieff’s (2002) A Bed for the Night as part of my work for my PhD, but was immediately drawn to it. Although published in 2002, the ideas expressed in the book are relevant even today. Continue reading “Where are we going with humanitarianism?”


Trash talking

With population growth and increased consumption, we are producing more waste than before. In 2016, New York was widely cited as the world’s most wasteful city, using the most energy, disposing of the most trash, and using more water than any other city. While cities and corporates continue to introduce waste reducing schemes and encourage recycling, more robust efforts are needed to address the growing negative environmental and social impacts of waste.  Continue reading “Trash talking”

CSW62: 7 writing prompts for addressing gender inequality

The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), held from March 12-23, 2018, made strong commitments to “lift rural women and girls out of poverty and to ensure their rights, well-being and resilience”. Recognised as the UN’s ‘largest gathering on gender equality and women’s rights’, the summit came at a significant juncture in the midst of increased global calls to end gender-based violence, injustice, and discrimination.  Continue reading “CSW62: 7 writing prompts for addressing gender inequality”

Looking beyond ‘business as usual’

(Photo: A visual summary of some of the key discussions at the Bond Conference)

On February 26 and 27, I participated at the Bond Annual Conference, Europe’s biggest international development event. I primarily covered the discussions of the CONNECT strand that focused largely on partnerships and collaborations. Overall, the conference offered some rich and diverse insight on pressing humanitarian and development challenges of today. Continue reading “Looking beyond ‘business as usual’”

Portraying child soldiers in fiction

Monday, 12th February was the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.

Tens of thousands of children continue to be recruited as child soldiers in many war-torn countries. In fact, there seems to be no end in sight for these rising trends. While many children are forcibly recruited, some also join as they see no alternative in the midst of brutal conflict. The figures are alarming. Continue reading “Portraying child soldiers in fiction”

To what extent could Frankenstein’s Creature be regarded human?

In the final year of my undergraduate degree, about 10 years ago, I undertook a module on the theme of fiction and science. This wasn’t my first choice of the module, but by the end of it, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. For my final BA dissertation, I unpacked the ideas of ‘human’, ‘civilisation’, and ‘rights’, by examining three texts that can fall within the realm of science fiction – Frankenstein, Brave New World, and Never Let Me GoContinue reading “To what extent could Frankenstein’s Creature be regarded human?”

Rebecca: Turning towards feminist critiques?

I first read Daphne du Maurier’s masterpiece Rebecca in my mid-teens. Its opening paragraph mesmirised me – it was one of the most beautiful and haunting paragraphs I had ever read –

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited”

Continue reading “Rebecca: Turning towards feminist critiques?”

The White Tiger

Aravind Adiga’s award-winning The White Tiger is full of contrasts – ‘twinned pairs and dualities‘. These highlight, not all too subtlety, the widening gap – this ever-present divide – between the rich and the poor, between progress and under-development, between promise and hopelessness. The passages are abound with irony.

Continue reading “The White Tiger”

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

“We were never trying to deny our femaleness. Instead, we wanted to expand the notion of what it means to be female. The notion of “female” should be so sprawling and complex that it becomes divorced from gender itself. We were considered a female band before we became merely a band; I was a female guitarist and Janet was a female drummer for years before we were simply considered a guitarist and a drummer. I think Sleater-Kinney wanted the privilege of starting from neutral ground, not from a perceived deficit or a linguistic limitation. Anything that isn’t traditional for women apparently requires that we remind people what an anomaly it is, even when it becomes less and less of an anomaly.”

Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir

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