When Utopias go Wrong: writing dystopian fiction with Francesca Haig

Hosted by the LSE Literary Festival

Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building,


Francesca Haig

Francesca Haig


Katharine Quarmby

Ever wanted to write dystopian fiction? Interested in what makes The Handmaid’s Tale so chillingly prescient, The Hunger Games so gripping, and The Road so devastating? This workshop will discuss why authors and readers keep returning to dystopian stories, and will push you to consider how you can make your own dystopian fiction striking and new. What is it that makes an effective dystopia, and how can you use these ideas to make your own writing more effective? Come prepared to write, as this interactive workshop will have you interrogating your ideas, and trying out new ones. 

Francesca Haig (@FrancescaHaig) is a novelist, poet and academic. The Fire Sermon, her debut novel, is the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy. Rights for the series have sold in more than twenty countries, and the second novel, The Map of Bones, will be published in April 2016. Her poetry has been published in literary journals in both Australia and England, and her first collection of poetry, Bodies of Water, was published in 2006. Francesca grew up in Tasmania, gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and was a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Chester. In 2010 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.

Katharine Quarmby (@KatharineQ) is an award-winning writer and journalist. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at LSE. Her latest non-fiction book, with Diana Kader, is Hear My Cry (Hachette, Poland, 2015). Forthcoming publications for 2016 include two Gypsy folk tales, in picture book form, for Child's Play International, with the Romani story-teller Richard O’Neill.

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2016, taking place from Monday 22 - Saturday 27 February 2016, with the theme 'Utopias'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELitFest