Time Travellers and Storytellers: Representations of Dementia in Children's Fantasy Literature
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This creative writing research-based thesis asks how dementia can be represented to primary-aged children through a fantasy fiction novel and offers an original fantasy fiction novel, The Battle for Spanoak (Guiry, 2020), written for children between the ages of 7 and 12-years-old as an original contribution to the corpus of dementia writing for children. The critical component to this thesis explores how generic fantasy devices and structures impact on the representation of dementia through ‘storytelling’ and ‘memory’ and describes the particular relevance of ‘time’ as a narrative device in dementia fantasy narratives. I have also contributed a corpus of dementia texts for the young from which I have identified thematic commonplaces which I propose might be criteria to recognise fantasy dementia writing for the young. I have codified and offered this evidence in Table 1: Dementia and Fantasy Writing for the Young. I offer a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary theoretical approach which brings together children’s fiction writing about dementia, fictional landscape theories and the fantasy genre to propose that fantasy landscapes can open up a useful theoretical space to represent dementia to children in positive terms of transformation.