Politerature is an idea that begins with the assertion that politically informed literature can be of the highest quality. We believe that there are excellent books—some of them popular, others less well-known, some written in English, many originating in other languages—that express and embody political ideas. We believe that raising consciousness about racism or colonialism or women’s and LGBTQ oppression, about war and intervention, about class and unions, is a worthy task for fiction. We intend to pay attention to the books that take on this task.
The crux of what we are seeking is to honor and develop a kind of literature that runs counter to the conventional wisdom that true art cannot be political. On the contrary, we believe that many books at all points on the ideological spectrum– including those we find abhorrent and those that insist they have no ideology– are, in fact, political. Our focus will be literature that is politically progressive and leftist: this is what we call Politerature. We are seeking books that rise to the heights of complexity in story, language, character, and political experiences and ideas. In cases where such books don’t reach the heights, we applaud the effort.
Finally, we assert that political fiction can open minds, inform, give insight, inspire, strengthen, and arm. We need these things. Can books change the world? That’s one of the questions to be addressed here. We already know that we love books and we want to change the world. Those passions converge in Politerature.
Meredith Sue Willis