Authors have spoken of their devastation at the news that right-wing Republican candidate Donald Trump has been voted in as US president elect, with one saying it feels like the world is heading for a “dark, dystopian future”.
His Dark Materials trilogy author Philip Pullman (pictured) has led the outrage, calling Trump a “savage” and questioning the US and UK’s shift to the right following the election result and Brexit. “Is there something wrong with democracy? This year we in Britain have voted to leave an organisation that has sustained peace and prosperity during most of our lifetimes, and the people of the USA have elected a moral and intellectual savage as their president,” he said. “Is the process failing somehow? Why these terrible, destructive, utterly stupid choices?
“I think the reason is best expressed in poetry: ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.’ The truth of Yeats’s lines has been brought home to us with a force we could never have imagined before 2016.”
He added: “And the remedy must be to find some bloody conviction, and express it with imagination and clarity and force, and do it soon.”
Under a post entitled “President Pussygrabber”, Game of Thrones author George R R Martin (pictured below) has said there are “really no words for how I feel”.
“Trump was the least qualified candidate ever nominated by a major party for the presidency,” he wrote. “Come January, he will become the worst president in American history, and a dangerously unstable player on the world stage. And the decimated Democrats, a minority in both House and Senate, do not have the power to hinder him.”
He added: “Over the next four years, our problems are going to get much, much worse. Winter is coming. I told you so.”
Author Cathy Cassidy (pictured below) said the rest of the world was looking on in “stunned horror” after Trump beat Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton following yesterday’s election.
“There is a sense that we are moving into some kind of dark, dystopian future, and all we can do now is watch the chaos unfold,” she told The Bookseller. “America has voted for a racist, misogynistic, homophobic bully, and we must all pay the price for that decision. How am I feeling? Gutted.”
Juno Dawson (pictured below), a member of the transgender community, said she wasn’t surprised by the election result and described it as “a spectacular example of cutting off your nose to spite your face and real, working Americans will suffer”.
“I think people from minority groups are well aware of misguided resentment aimed at us,” she said. “It's stirred up by the right wing media and we'll fight harder than ever for our rights and to make our voices heard. We have always fought. We will continue to fight bigotry and hate.”
Author Michael Rosen (pictured below), meanwhile, urged people to fight for the “social advancement of all”.
“What we don't know yet is whether Trump will do what he says he'll do,” he said. “If he does, he will cause pain to millions of people through cuts, deportations and persecution. The history and culture of publishing is rooted in humanism: the social advancement of all. We must hope and fight for that, by writing, editing, publishing, talking and defending the trade, libraries, librarians, and what Emile Zola called the 'republic of letters'.”
Authors have also been reacting to the news on Twitter. Francesca Simon, originally from the US but based in the UK, tweeted: "Right now this is the worst horror movie ever. The US has just elected the man endorsed by the KKK. I guess US towns should get busy building stocks for all the women who will need to be punished for abortions."
Irvine Welsh said in a tweet, "I'm going to go to bed now and pretend it was a bad dream and that America didn't just turn into something… abominable”.
American author Stephen King called it “the ugliest election in living memory” and American New York Times-bestselling author Amy Tan tweeted: "Fear trumped reason. Hate trumped compassion. But we still have our principles and can be a support to those now scared for their lives.”
Meanwhile, Waterstones Children’s laureate Chris Riddell illustrated a comment from writer David Remnick’s words for the New Yorker, which said: “The election of Donald Trump to the presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American Republic, a tragedy for the constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny and racism. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”
Picture of Michael Rosen: © Lawrence Cendrowicz