Having been part of the panel judging the splendid recent Writing the Future competition, I've been asked to pen a few words about the writer's job; specifically how the world 'out there' gets filtered through the writer's imagination so that it arrives 'down there' on the page.
Life is messy and inchoate. We writers are mining it for truth. Disobligingly it refuses to manifest itself in convenient five act structures for us simply to copy down.
Writing the Future is a vanity exercise. A piece of ephemera only of interest to the eccentric, whimsical, or those with far too much time on their hands.
I don’t agree; and having come up with the idea originally, I’m not sure you’d expect me to. But amid mounting pressures today, why on earth have we tied £10,000 to a literature prize about an era when almost all of you reading this will be dead? Why should you care? Here are three reasons.
When Richard Taunt invited me to do this, I should have given him a warning. That my least favourite forms of fiction are science fiction and fantasy.
That when it comes to the future, I am right there with the American baseball star Yogi Berra – to whom is often attributed the famous quote: "Never make predictions – especially about the future." Fortunately, Richard made clear that all I needed to talk about is the past – before finding out who has won Writing the Future, the future of health and care in 2100.