Writing historical fiction is the easiest way to escape the Now; to avoid dealing with the internet, you only have to step back a decade or two. If you’d prefer to write about characters entirely innocent of TV, you’d need to retreat as far as the 1940s; then you get the second world war and the Holocaust, subjects that, despite their historical specificity, are understood by everyone to be unimpeachably Timeless.
Four out of five of this year’s Newbery honorees are historical fiction. I’m curious — is it indeed easier to go back in time as Laura Miller suggests in today’s Guardian rather than grapple with contemporary circumstances like the Internet? While she’s writing about adult literary fiction, it seems to me the problem is true for writers of children’s and YA literature as well.