12 February 2021
“How do we create truth in a world of non-truth?”
Well-known author and journalist Peter Pomerantsev is doing a PhD in Creative Writing Track at King’s and has chosen to study to explore misinformation at a deeper level to make sense of the challenges we face.
Well-known author and journalist Peter Pomerantsev is doing a PhD in Creative Writing at King’s and has chosen to study to explore misinformation at a deeper level to make sense of the challenges we face.
Pomerantsev recently won the Gordon Burn Prize for his book This Is Not Propaganda which looks at 21st-century misinformation in a global context.
He is looking at how we create literary non-fiction in an age where reality and fact have ‘gone out of the window’. Pomerantsev asks ‘What is the role and function of non-fiction?’ in a world of dark ads, psy-ops, hacks, bots, soft facts, ISIS, Putin, trolls and Trump. In the book, he meets Twitter revolutionaries, ‘behavioural change’ salesmen, Jihadi fan-boys, truth cops, and much more.
Pomerantsev will write a new book as part of the PhD which will look at propaganda during World War II and misinformation in the pre-digital age.
“Information is the new thing that countries are fighting over. It is no longer about borders. My new book will look at storytelling, psychology, sociology and communication theory around information.
“In an age where politics has become fiction, the new book is a guide on how to navigate this age and come out of it with an approach of how we win trust. It will ask how we break out of the bubble. It is a meditation on the question ‘How do we create truth in a world of non-truth’ where journalism is failing; and asks ‘What is Common reality’?” Pomerantsev added.
In October 2020, Pomerantsev won the Gordon Burn Prize, and said the award was a great experimenter with non-fiction works.
“The awards celebrate the unexpected and create a space for experimental reality in a new and original way. There is a community of people that really appreciate these kind of works. Gordon Burn was a model for me, and the prize represents books which are clever and original.”
Commenting on his award, the prize website states: “Mixing case studies, analysis and family history, Peter Pomerantsev broadens his scope outwards from Moscow and London to a more global canvas, as he looks at the origins and spiralling problems of the disinformation age. Timely and important, it confirms Pomerantsev as one of our most stylish, dexterous and important new non-fiction writers.”
Pomerantsev further added the PhD in the Department of English at King’s gives him space to brainstorm social function and theory behind the book.
Pomersantsev is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE. An author and TV producer, he is a widely-cited expert on disinformation and media and writes for publications including Granta, The Atlantic, Financial Times and many others. His first book, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, won the 2016 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.