An illustration of a castle, unicorn, and more, showing the whimsy of reading

What if books told the stories of the unadvertised lives of society?

Emmanuella Imoh, poet and winner of the Lit in Colour Creative Student Prize, imagines a world in which more people can see themselves in the pages of a book.

Emmanuella Imoh

How thrilling it is to immerse yourself in an unending expanse of white sheeted sea, whisked away by whimsical narratives or a heavily detailed autobiographies. Books offer escapism without travelling the seven seas; for many, the ability to relax and indulge into a book fills them with utter satisfaction. 

Reading acts as a diversion from the bustling world, or a cure for a reclusive life familiar with despondency or – simply – a way of learning more. We quietly resort to books written by citizens of long ago or young authors aspiring to touch the hearts of many. To experience such euphoria, one must fervently scavenge for an alluring novel: one that seemingly manipulates time for prolonged hours, one that offers a kind of liberation. 

Whether we finish the book or turn to another, there’s a pleasure in the process: we love to believe we have acquired newfound knowledge, or we have been given an insight into another’s existence, one that doesn’t replicate our own lives but details something quixotic: something beyond our own personal reality. 

Books can whisk us away on seas of whimsy – why not bring that whimsy to real life?

Shouldn’t we be invested in books that give us joy and do not lure us into a sea of unhappiness and dissatisfaction? Shouldn’t all books lessen the feeling of resentment and disfavour and heighten the indescribable bliss you feel after concluding a gratifying novel?

Books can whisk us away on seas of whimsy – why not bring that whimsy to real life? Books can be riveting and hypnotic, yet change our emotions with the flick of a page. After reading a book, one can feel rejuvenated; one can feel an ineffable sense of being alive. Why not make that feeling accessible to everyone?


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Illustration: Flynn Shore / Penguin

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