Happy New Year! Now let’s buckle in for the ride…

My hopes for 2024, and on living a good life in uncertain times

I’ve spent a bit of time over the last few days using different prompts to reflect on 2023, and to think about my goals and strategy for 2024 – both for my writing and my personal life. I loved Genevieve Nathwani’s post on this, and if you too like self-reflection and purposeful goal-setting I highly recommend you read and reflect on this one.

Most of the posts I’ve seen online over the last couple of weeks have been seasonally merry and bright, which has been a cheerful change, because I often find the online world strange and disconcerting. Some people are intently pursuing personal happiness and/or marketing ferociously with clear business goals, but more and more people seem to be withdrawing into their particular enclave, and a burgeoning group are talking about and prepping for civilisational collapse/change on a grand scale. I noticed on Sunday that the conversations we had with our friends during our New Year’s Eve celebrations kept unexpectedly hitting darker topics, and we had to keep mindfully bringing the light back in.

I also spent the holidays devouring Naomi Alderman’s book The Future (and I’ll be writing in more detail about this in an upcoming post). The story is about a group of tech billionaire preppers who each get the call that it’s time to get into their bunkers. Alderman’s cultural commentary is brilliant, and I’m still thinking over the book even though I finished it days ago. I recently heard Rumaan Alam (author of Leave the World Behind, now a hit film on Netflix) talking on Brad Listi’s podcast about ‘the age of the billionaire’, which will be the focus of his book and others in the coming year, and my own upcoming thriller When She Was Gone features one such scenario too. It’s a clear sign of the necessity and urgency for continuing the cultural conversations we’re already having around wealth and inequality, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this theme in new literature and reporting back throughout the year.

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