Thursday, 10 July 2008

Slavery, ancient and modern

On my birthday trip round some of Liverpool’s museums and galleries, I was determined to look at the relatively new International Slavery Museum, which is part of National Museums Liverpool, an organisation with which I’ve been associated since its inception just over 20 years ago, and which has under its wing such marvellous places as the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Museum, the Conservation Centre and the Maritime Museum. The new museum is housed in the same building as the Maritime, in the Albert Dock, surely one of the most impressive locations imaginable for any public building.

The exhibits are thought-provoking and Liverpool is a good place for a slavery museum to be established, since the city grew rich partly through its involvement in the slave trade. Even after the abolition of slavery in the UK two centuries ago, Liverpool merchants gave support to the Confederate cause.

Slavery is one of the key background themes in Waterloo Sunset. One of the issues addressed in the book is my belief that, in some ways, slavery is still very much with us, albeit in a very different way from that of the past. I don’t like writing preachy books, and Waterloo Sunset is first and foremost intended to be a piece of breezy entertainment. But in my opinion, that doesn’t mean that such a novel cannot address serious social issues in (I hope) a meaningful way.

Incidentally, I’m glad to say that the book is continuing to pick up very positive reviews. The latest in the UK comes from the Magistrates Association. Magistrates don’t always look kindly on lawyers’ fiction (especially when it comes in the form of a plea of mitigation on behalf of an undeserving client) so I was very pleased by this one.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Congratulations, Martin. I was so happy to see your name. (No need to reply.)