Prolific Green Point author Paige Nick’s ninth book, Unpresidented, is set to hit shelves this week, and she says it’s a statement she had to make.
Paige, who started writing the book last year, says the story revolves around a former disgraced president who has just been released from prison.
“It is a comedy. I’ve always felt like life is really serious and hard, so if I can write stuff that’s funny, I feel like it alleviates something. It’s where I want to be, it’s what I like to write and it makes me happy. I think we need a bit of a laugh, and, as a country, we are really good at laughing as well.”
The book was born out of Paige’s frustration with the political situation and the humour inherent in it. Some of the things, she says, you just can’t make up.
“I found so much humour in the despicable actions of this person that there was too much comedy for me to avoid it.”
However, she stresses the book is not political at its heart but rather character-based – the two protagonists are the ex-president and a disgraced journalist.
“He has 30 days to write this memoir of the president while the ex-president has 30 days to pay back the money he owes,” says Paige.
“There is no politics in the book; it is all comedy driven about these two characters. It’s a story of con artists and the story is which one is going to win the con at the end of the day. I just want people to be able to have an easy read. We need it a lot right now, and if you don’t laugh, you cry.”
As she started writing the book last year she kept on updating it with the latest news.
“I would read the news every day and there would just be the next thing to add to the book. At some point, I had to tell myself to stop writing because the news is going to carry on going,” said Paige. “I feel like everyone’s obsessed with the news right now because it affects us so deeply. I started reading it with a view to find the humour in it. I had this picture in my head (about the former president) and it became a thing.”
She believes satire, as a form of expression, is more important than ever.
“It feels like at least we still have this freedom, as long as we can still talk about this. I don’t think we all have to agree. I think we’re at a watershed but we still have this freedom whether you agree or disagree.”
Writing, she says, is a form of therapy that helps her deal with things going on in the country that are far beyond her control.
“I love this country, but I feel so helpless. This is like my little corner of protest and speaking up. I’m relatively prepared for whatever comes but I didn’t want to be quiet. At least I’ll know that I haven’t been silenced about how I feel and I feel scared for all of us.”
Because the book is set in the future, Paige says she decided very early on not to say who is in power.
“This book isn’t about politics, it is about a man who has done some terrible things. It is about relationships and human beings and that is what I wanted.”
She says she also became interested in the idea of fake news as she was following the American elections at the time of writing the book.
“The whole book is about fake news and propaganda and where it comes from and how you know what’s true. I’m into characters and this is very much fiction and it is about the fight between good and evil.”
Paige says readers who are unfamiliar with her work can expect comedy, a light, easy, fun and relevant read.
“It is a spoof but it is also a statement on the news and the world we live in.”
Atlantic Sun has two signed copies of Paige Nick’s Unpresidented to give away. To enter, SMS your full name and surname, along with ASPresident to 33258 before 10pm on Sunday May 14. Winners will be notified telephonically.