Development Fiction

Exploring 'development' through all things fiction


Gender, rights, and society

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”

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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

The Global Gag Rule: Can writers join the resistance?

On February 28, PAI is calling on people from across the world to join ‘a day of action’ on Twitter to speak out against President Trump’s Global Gag Rule. Ahead of this twitter chat and twitterstorm, we ask, can writers join this resistance, that has, for too long, being a subject of political back-and-forth?

Every year, over 21 million women experience unsafe abortions around the world. A majority of such unsafe abortions occur in developing countries, and risks are even higher in conflict-affected contexts. Unsafe abortion is also among the main causes of maternal mortality. President Trump’s re-introduction of the Global Gag Rule has stirred further debate and action on the already widely contested issue of abortion, and overall, on concerns around women’s sexual and reproductive health rights, as well as women’s freedom of choice and empowerment.

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FGM: Can fiction change the narrative?

“I just pray that one day no woman will have to experience this pain. It will become a thing of the past. People will say “Did you hear, female genital mutilation has been outlawed in Somalia?” Then the next country, and the next, and so on, until the world is safe for all women. What a happy day that will be, and that’s what I’m working toward. In’shallah, if God is willing, it will happen. ”

Waris Dirie, Desert Flower
Continue reading “FGM: Can fiction change the narrative?”

Women’s resistance movements in film: the Suffragettes and the Gulabi Gang (in light of women’s marches protesting Trump)

A day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the new US President, tens of thousands of women took to the streets across the United States and in more than 60 countries in protest. The new US President had previously, unashamedly, boasted about sexually assaulting women, while his brutal verbal comments at women, and his views on family planning have come under intense criticism. The marches were more widespread, however, in their message, promoting awareness of broader issues such as minority and disability rights. Such protests were seen as resonating other large-scale women’s resistance movements, particularly those such as the women’s suffrage movement.

In light of such protests and debates, I am drawn to two representations of women’s resistance movements in film: the 2015 British period-drama, Suffragette, and the 2010 documentary, Pink Saris that depicts the actions of the Gulabi Gang in India. The two productions are set almost a century apart, and in two vastly different regions. Yet, the issues they raise resonate even today. Continue reading “Women’s resistance movements in film: the Suffragettes and the Gulabi Gang (in light of women’s marches protesting Trump)”

Is fiction a representation or re-construction of reality

I briefly wrote about how, in early 2015, as part of a MA module that looked at critical approaches to development and social change, I worked on an essay exploring the role of fiction in development. I drew on two texts that have enjoyed wide success, recognition, and commendation since their publication; Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.

Continue reading “Is fiction a representation or re-construction of reality”

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