Dissertation Corner with Chloe Anson: Experimenting With Dystopia

In this week’s Dissertation Corner we talk to Chloe Anson about her work on a creative dissertation set in a dystopia.

Tell us about your dissertation, what is it about?

My Creative Writing dissertation is an extract from my novel. It explores and experiments with the opening chapter of a book and how important this is to the rest of the story. I chose to focus on the dystopian genre as this theme presents lots of ways to experiment with different forms and gives you the freedom to express all your totalitarian anxieties!

How did you choose the textual research for your dissertation?

In researching the different texts that were available within this genre, I decided to stick with the staples; We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, High Rise by J. G. Ballard, The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood and of course, a bit of George Orwell.  However, I have had to read lots of different texts to find specific themes that I wanted to implement within my dissertation.  

Has your project changed much since the proposal stage?

It has changed quite a lot. My first proposal was a collection of dystopian short stories until I realised that I had too many ideas and wanted to develop one more than the others. It’s was a huge reassurance that there was a lot of time to change my mind if I was unsure.

Why are you interested in this topic?

This topic interests me as I have always been inspired by powerful female protagonists within YA fiction, but I noticed that not a lot of dystopian classics have a female main character. I wanted to create a piece that reflected this so I could explore my observations further. 

What have you enjoyed most about the project?

I have really enjoyed the planning stages of the project and piecing everything together. Writing the critical commentary alongside my dissertation has been a good way of getting some inspiration as it’s a place where I can talk about the research and reasoning behind each decision.

What has it been like working closely with an academic supervisor?

It’s great to have someone available to read your work, and to calmly answer any panicked emails sent their way!