Presenters: Marisa Silver, Laura van den Berg
Moderator: Katherine Taylor
Try to bill a novel as surreal, and people immediately think that the book is just plain weird. They tend to offer excuses about how they don't really like fantasy or science fiction. Somehow we have forgotten that surrealism in literature was born alongside the same movement in the world of visual art. When we talk about the surreal, we are suggesting that something intrigues and unsettles our subconscious because it places objects and situations that seem to be at odds alongside one another. For example, a deceased husband returned to life in another country or a young girl who transforms into the stuff of fairy tales, both create the illusion for the reader that he or she is standing on the edge of a world that runs parallel to our own. It is an exhilarating and terrifying and ceaselessly imaginative place to inhabit, and of even greater interest is learning how these two writers are able to bring their readers to this brink.