Here’s my Q&A with Paul Hair of Liberate Liberty. An extract:
PH: How powerful is fiction and how does it affects culture?
JJM: Fiction has mythic power. We can learn a lot from actual history, of course. If you want to be a statesman, start with Thucydides and work your way to Winston Churchill. But the great stories of our culture share the same potential. So the education of a statesman also ought to include the study of remarkable characters, such as Achilles and Odysseus from Homer, Macbeth from Shakespeare, Satan from Paradise Lost, Bilbo and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings, and so on. From these works of fiction, we learn about human nature. Also, fiction is fun—and one of my favorite pastimes is to become lost in a potboiler.