Class, Race and the Case for Genre Fiction in the Canon by Adrian McKinty
This article has been published on the Literary Hub website. It begins:
When I was 16, in the summer of 1984, I made a vow that I would never read another novel as long as I lived. I was completely convinced that I hated books and the night of my final English “O” level exam my friends and I met up on a piece of waste ground and made a bonfire of all our hated examination texts.
My Irish school was very old fashioned and the novels we read were mostly 19th-century three-volume works by Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Anthony Trollope. These thick books incinerated very well. As we passed around cans of Special Brew and watched the sparks fly upward we were completely unaware of the multiple ironies of burning books in what was not only Winston Smith’s summer of love in the novel 1984, but what was also the 30th anniversary of the publication of the British edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.