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Financial crisis results in new ‘Crunch Lit’ genre

13th September 2018

With the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy this week, financial experts and economist around the world have been looking back at the impact the collapse has had and what has changed over the last decade.

Katy Shaw, Professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University, Newcastle, offers a different perspective on the impact of the 2008 financial crisis in her book Crunch Lit, in which she explores how the financial crisis has been examined and portrayed through literature and the emergence of a new and growing body of fiction.

Dubbed ‘Crunch Lit’, this new genre is characterised by a host of unsympathetic characters and often centred around banking institutions, satirising the origins and effects of modern life, consumer culture and the credit boom.

As Professor Shaw writes: “Crunch Lit includes fictional works, as well as writings for stage, television and films. These new writings engage in critical dialogue with competing representations of the credit crunch, as part of a broader cultural response to, and understanding of, the financial crash.

“Drawing upon and developing shared themes and concerns across fiction, stage, television and big-screen writings, Crunch Lit collectively evidences an emerging critical and evaluative awareness of the causes of, events during and the consequences of the financial crash of 2007–8.

“As a publishing phenomenon and the subject of mainstream press attention as well as literary criticism, Crunch Lit offers a particular form of writing, content and technique, aimed at shaping understandings and promoting a new awareness of the relationship between finance and society during the first decade of the new millennium.”

By examining a range of texts, including BBC television drama Freefall, radio drama The Day That Lehman Died, films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, and stage dramas such as David Hare’s The Power of Yes, as well as chic-lit, stand-up comedy, musicals and novels by writers such as John Lanchester, Sebastian Faulks and Bret Easton Ellis, Professor Shaw offers the first wide-ranging guide to this new genre.

Crunch Lit by Professor Katy Shaw is published by Bloomsbury and is part of the 21st Century Genre Fiction series. For more information click here.

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