“[…] do novels serve a wider function beyond latte chat?
According to international research, novels do more than mingle souls, as John Donne said of words on paper. Novels may inform us better about world issues than authoritative non-fiction data dependant studies.
This is the finding of a team from Manchester University and the London School of Economics. Dennis Rodgers of Manchester University’s Brooks World Poverty Institute said in 2008: “Despite the regular flow of academic studies, expert reports and policy position papers, it is arguably novelists who do as good a job — if not a better one — of representing and communicating the realities of international development.
“While fiction may not always show a set of presentable research findings, it does not compromise on complexity, politics or readability in the way that academic literature sometimes does. And fiction often reaches a much larger and diverse audience than academic work and may therefore be more influential in shaping public knowledge and understanding of development issues.””
From an author’s perspective I can say that history and actual events in my novels are only as factual as they fit the plot.