Via the wonderful Metafilter, as always:
Fiction - including poetry - should be taken just as seriously as facts-based research, according to the team from Manchester University and the London School of Economics (LSE). Novels should be required reading because fiction "does not compromise on complexity, politics or readability in the way that academic literature sometimes does," said Dr Dennis Rodgers from Manchester University's Brooks World Poverty Institute. He said: "Despite the regular flow of academic studies, expert reports, and policy position papers, it is arguably novelists who do as good a job – if not a better one – of representing and communicating the realities of international development. "While fiction may not always show a set of presentable research findings, it does not compromise on complexity, politics or readability in the way that academic literature sometimes does. "And fiction often reaches a much larger and diverse audience than academic work and may therefore be more influential in shaping public knowledge and understanding of development issues." Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner "has arguably done more to educate Western readers about the realities of daily life in Afghanistan under the Taliban and thereafter than any government media campaign, advocacy organisation report, or social science research", said the report.
More at the Daily Telegraph, here.
There's a full copy of the paper, as a PDF, here.