Why fiction novels play an important role in society

Fiction writing can teach us a lot about society and humanity.

Though all literature is important, many often perceive fiction novels to be inferior to non-fiction.

Readers of fiction can carry lessons learned from a book forever. But why is it that fiction makes such a lasting impression?

Writer and editor Kate Sidley explains that fiction readers relate to experiences and characters on emotional and other levels.

She describes a fiction novel as a simulated social world which has its own dynamics and complexities.

Fiction makes meaning and makes sense of the world in a different kind of way.

Kate Sidley, writer and editor

According to Sidley, reading fiction contributes to a person's moral psychological development and their ability to have empathy or understanding.

It enhances out ability to connect with each other. It makes us a little bit more aware and informed.

Kate Sidley, writer and editor

The social realism highlighted in many fiction works presents themes that allow readers to encounter diversity but also see themselves through representation.

In particular, Sidley says dystopian novels explore economic and political structures and social scourges.

She mentions two recent fiction works that tell us about society:

  • The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver

An intriguing book set in near future, after the economic collapse of the US. A family gradually looses their trappings of middle class life.

It explores the fragility of the economy and how social contracts are eroded.

One of the characters says that plots that are set in the future are about what people fear in the present, they are not about the future at all.

Kate Sidley, writer and editor
  • Sarcophogas - Tuelo Gabonewe

A book set in a impoverished village in the Northern Province and doesn't romanticise rural life or poverty of the family, as many local novels tend to.

Listeners also called in to share their favourite fiction reads.

Kate Sidley and host Eusebius McKaiser talk books below:

Read More
How to protect your child from abuse right under your roof

How to protect your child from abuse right under your roof

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve says child abuse can at times be perpetrated by someone a parent loves, lives with or is in love with.

Mouse sperm stored in space suggests humans could reproduce on other planets

Mouse sperm stored in space suggests humans could reproduce on other planets

Naked Scientist Chris Smith shares the latest scientific discoveries and answers your fascinating questions.

Local authors pen books on womanhood and how to make Africa a better place

Local authors pen books on womanhood and how to make Africa a better place

Two South African authors have written two apt books: on the struggles of being a black woman and how to develop the Continent.

Richard Pithouse publishes piercing anthology on SA's political violence

Richard Pithouse publishes piercing anthology on SA's political violence

'Writing the Decline' is the latest offering by author, activist and academic Richard Pithouse exploring the state of play in SA.

Authors' fine line between appropriation and artistic licence

Authors' fine line between appropriation and artistic licence

While representation in literature is important, it is key for authors writing about others people's identities to be sensitive.

Msizi Nkosi pens tell-all book on picking up the pieces after alcoholism

Msizi Nkosi pens tell-all book on picking up the pieces after alcoholism

TV and radio producer Msizi Nkosi opens up about his life struggles and debut novel, "I'm a Different Mess than I Was Yesterday."

Popular articles
Spur CEO: Man's pic will be up at restaurants and he is not welcome

Spur CEO: Man's pic will be up at restaurants and he is not welcome

Spur CEO says staff aren't equipped for this kind of customer confrontation and he will consider reviewing their training manual.

Tebogo "ProVerb" Thekisho opens up about money

Tebogo "ProVerb" Thekisho opens up about money

What is rapper ProVerb’s attitude to the stuff that makes the world go ‘round (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.)?

Budget 2017: DA hoped for spending cuts, not tax increases

Budget 2017: DA hoped for spending cuts, not tax increases

The DA believes that raising taxes is not the answer to South Africa's economic woes and propose more cost-cutting for government.

Meet self-made millionaire (net worth – R400m!) property mogul Sisa Ngebulana

Meet self-made millionaire (net worth – R400m!) property mogul Sisa Ngebulana

How did Ngebulana build his empire? The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed him for his weekly “ShapeShifter” feature.

5 most important years in anyone’s life (when it comes to investing)

5 most important years in anyone’s life (when it comes to investing)

How old are you? Financial advisor Warren Ingram discusses the five most important ages in anyone’s investment career.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?

5 reasons why the tourism industry is sceptical about the latest numbers

5 reasons why the tourism industry is sceptical about the latest numbers

The tourism industry is questioning the veracity of the surprisingly upbeat tourism figures and the timing of their release.