Independent Writers: They Did It Their Way

The French have always done things in their own way. They’re headstrong and have a desire to be the best of the best of the best. They eat frogs’ legs and hold the Mona Lisa at the heart of their capital city. They have a 324m tower known as Eiffel and, most importantly, had the power to make McDonald’s change the colour of their logo on the Champs-Élysées.

The altered McDonald’s sign at Champs-Élysées

Every book we pick up is different. Every writer has his or her own style, but here’s a few writers that the French may be proud to call their own – writers that haven’t been afraid to buck a trend or fight their own corner…

Mary Woolstonecraft and Mary Shelly – This mother/daughter combo made their marks on the world in similar fashion. Mary Woolstonecraft accomplished many writing feats before her premature death just after the birth of her daughter. Woolstonecraft was a pioneer for women’s right; she was a keen believer in women having equal opportunities as men across education and much more. She wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women, which went on to be a seminal building block in gaining women a fair place in society. Her daughter, Mary Shelly, bucked a trend big time by releasing Frankenstein, which took the literary world by the back of its neck and shook it until it realised that women can write just as well as men.

George Orwell – If there was something to say about society, the chances are this guy said it. Orwell wrote almost the world we live in Nineteen Eighty-Four, probably his most famous work. He also penned Animal Farm and Down and Out in Paris and London, which gave lovely insights and opinions on society, capitalism, politics and a whole lot more – whilst of course remaining a splendid read and rather funny, even today.

Irvine Welsh – You might wonder how we’ve jumped from Orwell to Welsh, quite dramatic really. However, Welsh wrote Trainspotting, the book that changed the way we view literature. This book said it’s ok to write about drug addicts and violence in a way that’s entertaining and enjoyable to readers everywhere. Welsh decided to make the characters likeable, to create emotions within us that we probably wouldn’t feel for a drug addict that decided to walk into our life and start to change our world.

Phillip Roth – American writer Roth as been around since the late 50’s and can be seen to have a postmodern approach to his work. Using this, he writes about anything he wishes, with wit and irreverent humour. He has released titles such as The Breast, the story of a man who wakes up and is a breast on a woman’s chest. Roth also covers his integration into American society from his Jewish background, making his fiction hugely autobiographical at times.

Quentin Tarentino – Tarentino has brought us gems like Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and Kill Bill. It might seem a bit strange ending with Tarnetino, but his work has changed the way we view world cinema and has most likely influenced writers everywhere.

Keith Hodges

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