Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
As I mentioned in my previous review of Andrew Cowan’s Pig, the author, who studied at UEA and still works here as the Director of Creative Writing, was going to lecture on his own novel! I was really excited about it since it’s not everyday that a writer (of a book you liked) comes to talk about it!
The lecture was really interesting: he mainly focused on the historical and social context of the novel – which is based on the industrial town he grew up in (Corby). Beside this context, his life experiences largely inspired the novel. Indeed, Danny’s relationship with his grandparents is undeniably linked to the death of Cowan’s grandfather.
Interestingly, he really stressed the “unbookish” culture (to use Cowan’s own words) he comes from, the numerous social changes of the 1950s ad 1960s, and the lack of education that is still premodimant nowadays in this part of England. These themes, as well as the nostlagia for the past, are explored and represented through Danny’s desire to honour his grandparents and to “give school a miss […] and get a job somewhere”.
It’s funny because as Literature students, we often wonder what the author intended to do or say… And Andrew Cowan said himself that he had no idea what he was doing as he was writing Pig and that he’s only able to talk about it now because it came out 20 years ago!
You can visit Andrew Cowan’s website here!