Interview with Sophie Mackintosh and Rebecca Ley

Colour photo of London at night. Tower Bridge in the background. The conveyed feelings are those of speed, disquiet, and instability

The context

In December 2020 and January 2021, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Marta Olivi interviewed Sophie Mackintosh and Rebecca Ley, authors of feminist dystopian novels published in the UK in 2018: The Water Cure and Sweet Fruit, Sour Land.

The interview at a glance

The conversations delved into the affective and familial themes within the authors’ debut works but also explored how these texts seek to redefine dystopian conventions, particularly by intertwining their fictional worlds with real-world issues.

This intersection positions their novels within the evolving landscape of feminist dystopias. The discussions consistently circled back to the tangible realities confronting readers beyond the texts: trauma, epidemics, and global events like Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

More in-depth

Ley‘s exploration of rising food prices highlights the connection between fiction and reality across diverse historical and political contexts. The authors draw from various influences, including climate non-fiction and literary works like Angela Carter’s surrealism and The Virgin Suicides (1999). Mackintosh and Ley use allegory and materialistic critique, respectively, to symbolize contemporary women’s lived experiences and critique capitalist ideals. Their novels fulfil the dystopian narrative’s overarching goal of reflecting and potentially influencing society by acknowledging both real-world issues and fantastical elements in their storytelling.

Find out more

If you want to find out more, check the full interview with Sophie Mackintosh and Rebecca Ley:

  • Olivi, Marta. “Two Faces of the Feminist Dystopia in the United Kingdom: Sophie Mackintosh and Rebecca Ley.” Altre Modernità, n. 28, Nov. 2022, pp. 330-41,