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Can fiction change the world? Should it even try?

I know. I know. This topic is likely to make you roll your eyes, unless you’re one of the 8.9% of writers who are – like me – obsessed with it. Another 35% believe that art is for art’s sake alone: spectacular sunsets, striking metaphors, startling insights about the human condition, but don’t step too close to the line. Over that line lurk propaganda, didacticism, partisanship, the literary equivalents of activist judges. The other 56.1% don’t care and have already clicked away. (Disclosure: these statistics are made-up.)

Seriously though, you can’t live in my family without believing in the power of literature to effect change. My father-in-law Abel Meeropol (a.k.a. Lewis Allan) wrote the anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit,” often quoted as the most important protest song of the 20th century.  Read More 
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