Reading: Climate Change in Literary Fiction

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An article by Amitav Ghosh, author of ‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable’ in The Guardian that discusses the lack of climate change in fictional writing. The author discusses the evolution of the narrative in novels and why fiction writers have been resistant to include the topic of climate change in their work. He further discusses why novelists tend to address the topic of climate change through non-fiction since fiction derived from climate change deviates from trends of ‘gradualism’ in contemporary narratives and yet does not belong to ‘surrealism’ and ‘magic realism’ due to its nature of being ‘real’.

Students will learn about the genre of Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi) and how it differs from science fiction (Sci-Fi) . They will also learn about the evolution of narratives surrounding environmental phenomena in contemporary works of literature. Students will understand challenges that contemporary authors face when trying to write about ‘real’ topics like climate change.   

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi)?
  2. Discuss why climate change has not caught the collective imagination of writers.
  3. How do history, culture and politics influence works of literature?

About the tool

Tool NameAmitav Ghosh: where is the fiction about climate change?
Topic(s) in DisciplineLiterature, Fiction, Climate Fiction, Cli-Fi, Non-fiction, Writing, Literary Analysis, Narrative
Climate Topic Climate and Society
Type of tool Reading 
Grade LevelUndergraduate, Graduate
Developed byAmitav Ghosh
Hosted atThe Guardian
Computer SkillsBasic 
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