Chennai Mathematical Institute


CMI Arts Initiative Lecture
2:00 pm, Seminar Hall
The End of the World

Emily Holleman
Writers in Residence programme.


Why do we keep writing --- and reading --- dystopian fiction? This talk explores the genre from a historical perspective, starting with its roots in early Renaissance England through its collision with science fiction in the late Victorian era and its rise to prominence as a reaction to the radical political movements of the 20th century. Through this lens, we will also discuss the development of the various themes --- loss of individualism, environmental disaster, technological domination --- that have come to define what we imagine when we hear the word "dystopia". Finally, I will talk about the political undercurrents in contemporary America that have shaped the dystopian novel that I’ve been writing here at CMI and read an excerpt from this work-in-progress.

About the speaker:

A graduate of Yale University, Emily Holleman spent several years working as an editor at -- a job she left to work on her first novel. She is the author of CLEOPATRA'S SHADOWS and THE DROWNING KING (Little, Brown and Company), the first of which was long-listed for the HWA Debut Crown. Her FALL OF EGYPT series is currently in development for television with House Productions in London. Emily's nonfiction has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including Elle, LitHub, Salon and BookPage. At the moment, she is the writer-in-residence here at CMI, where she is working a new novel set in the not-so-distant future. When not in India, Emily lives in California, and, as a life-long New Yorker, she frequently misses the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn.