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Lionel Shriver
author, and winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction

Just as in music, the challenge in writing is increasingly technological: how to still make a living producing books in an era of such inexpensive reproduction that the product is almost free. Now that we can fit whole libraries on a tiny digital card, will traditional bound paper books become unnecessary? I’m a fuddy-duddy, and I rather hope not.

Population growth, immigration, water: these issues are all interrelated. It isn’t true that population growth is yesterday’s issue; the near certainty that we are headed for a world population of nine billion means half again as many people on this small planet as we have now. Nearly all this increase will be in the third world, kicking off an unprecedented migration from poor to rich countries that is already underway, and that will have huge economic, cultural, and political repercussions in the West. Furthermore, it’s at a population of nine billion that we run out of fresh water - and that’s even if the water were evenly distributed geographically, which it is not. I predict water wars, violent race and class divisions in Western countries when the immigrant underclass gets sick of cleaning toilets for a pittance, and the tragic demise of the long shower.

Lionel Shriver is author of books including We Need to Talk About Kevin (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Double Fault (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)). See her website

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