Thrillers allow us to experience scary situations from a safe space, say authors at SIBF 2022

Panel of popular authors explore the universal appeal of the thriller genre  at SIBF 2022

Sharjah, November 11, 2022

The enduring popularity of thriller fiction was in the spotlight during the ThrillerFest that debuted at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair at a panel discussion featuring American novelist Kathleen Antrim, best known for her award-winning political thriller Capital Offense, and Egyptian author Mohamed Sadek, famous for his novel Hepta.

The two writers of the popular genre agreed that the genre’s overwhelming popularity is because “readers like to experience scary situations and imagine themselves in it, but from a safe, vantage point.”

Award-winning author and journalist Antrim told the audience that thrillers are universally popular and the diverse genre spans psychological, legal, medical, political, criminal, and several other sub-genres, offering something for everyone. “Reading thrillers is a fun way to see how we, as readers, would solve the problem. There is also a sense of gratitude that it is not us who are in that spot!” said the US author.

“Thrillers let readers think they are the heroes or champions of the story, as they imagine themselves as the protagonist, navigating through the various challenges in the plot,” said Sadek.

High stake thrillers tend to keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats, the authors noted.

“What does that say about us as readers? It means we are keen to know how to solve these problem situations; it is a puzzle that readers like to put together and understand,” said Antrim.

Sadek, on the other hand, noted: “As humans, we all have a dark side and one that is good as well. Through the protagonist, we experience this shift more intimately in a way we cannot in real life.”

What keeps readers of all ages and eras hooked to thrillers is the element of moral bankruptcy that is at the core of most of these stories, the writers pointed out. “Why do people do what they do and how do they justify it? That’s the question we set out to solve and show,” the writers said.

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