Sunday, 2 May 2010

Nicola Barker on Englishness

While reading an interview with Nicola Barker in today's Observer, I came across an interesting reflection on Englishness:

"Nobody loves England more than the people who don't actually have to live there. I love our inclusiveness. It's become very fashionable of late for people to witter on about what Englishness is, as if Englishness is in danger of disappearing. The English have always been a mongrel race and proud of it. We are everything and nothing."

Barker makes these remarks in the context of her childhood in South Africa. I find them especially relevant to my own writing, as exile is a double-edged sword: it provides an extra perspective and counterpoint, yet can easily lead to nostalgia for something that never existed.

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