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The Fiction of Development?

DESTIN, Crisis States and Department of Social Policy panel discussion

Date: Friday 12 February 2010
Time:  7-8.30pm
Venue:  Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Giles Foden, Professor David Lewis, Jack Mpanje, Sunny Singh
Chair: Dr Dennis Rodgers

Do we learn more about global poverty issues and the worlds of international development agencies from works of popular fiction such as Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance or Helen Fielding’s Cause Celeb than we do from official reports and academic research? A recently-published paper written by David Lewis, Dennis Rodgers and Michael Woolcock suggests that fiction is an important and sometimes under-recognised source of knowledge about 'development' issues that may offer useful and different insights compared to more standard forms of research publication and policy reports.

Giles Foden was born in 1967 and spent his youth in Africa.  In 1998 he published The Last King of Scotland, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award and was later made into a feature film. The author of two other novels and also a work of narrative non-fiction, in 2007 he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. David Lewis is professor of Social Policy and Development at LSE. Jack Mpanje is a Malawian poet and teacher at the School of English, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sunny Singh is an Indian writer, journalist and teacher at London Metropolitan University


A copy of Professor Lewis' PowerPoint presentation is now available online:

Download: The Fiction of Development?(pdf)


A podcast of this event is available to download from the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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LSE Literary Festival 2010
Literary Festival 2010