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Amanda Coetzee

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Fact versus Crime Fiction

There are times when I read the newspaper (or more recently, social media) and I despair.  I cannot begin to fathom or unravel the complexities and banality of crime and nor do I wish to. My publisher would scoff at daily headlines as implausible if I tried to work them into a storyline and they would be right; as Mandy Weiner once said to me, ‘You couldn’t make this stuff up.’

You really could not and retain any credibility as a fictional author, so why bother? I am often asked why I choose to lose myself in a violent world of my own making and the answer is always the same. I unravel the chaos and present hope and love as a backdrop against the tides of madness. There is always a ‘why’ in crime fiction, a journey and resolution and rarely are we given that insight or truth in reality. Perhaps it is just as well or who of us could bear it?

Is it appropriate to create entertainment from the ashes of suffering even if only fictional? I stand proudly with my genre of choice and say that like all archetypal stories and characters, society needs them to navigate its own darkness.

We tap into our communal fear in order to control it if we cannot explain it, and sometimes, just sometimes, we do both.


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