‘I can’t go on, I’ll go on’: Authors react to Trump’s win with optimism, despair


Authors took to Twitter after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States on Tuesday, with some offering hope, and others despair.

Stephen King, a Democrat and vocal critic of Trump, seemed to choose the latter. “No more book recommendations, politics, or amusing dog pictures for the immediate future,” he tweeted. “I’m shutting down.”

Hours later, he followed that up with, “One more thing before I drift away for awhile: A common sign in antiques stores reading IF YOU BREAK IT, YOU OWN IT.”


Fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman took another tack, offering a more optimistic message. Gaiman responded to a Twitter user who asked, “Help. How do we make art [out] of this? I’m angry, scared, worried for friends and family. How do I turn this into anything good?”

“Say what you have to say. Inspire,” Gaiman wrote. “Remember that change always starts with ideas.”

The reactions of the two authors illustrated a sharp contrast between those who felt pessimistic about America under President-elect Trump and those who maintained that the country was strong enough to survive the Republican’s victory.

Many writers, though, had complicated feelings about the election results, expressing shock and disappointment as well as an unwillingness to lose hope for the future.

“This will be my only tweet today.” Judy Blume wrote, linking to a New Yorker essay on the vote headlined “An American tragedy.”


Like Gaiman, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling responded to a despairing Twitter user who asked, “How do we even move forward from here?”

“We stand together,” Rowling advised. “We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don’t let hate speech become normalised. We hold the line.”

Hundreds of writers had signed a petition that declared they “oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.” A few of those who were disappointed by his win turned, not surprisingly, to what they know best: books.

Novelist Victor Lavalle tweeted: “ ‘Because it is dangerous to ignore the existence of the irrational.’ — Donna Tartt, The Secret History”

Poet Molly Spencer wrote: “ ‘[L]et us keep fast hold of hands, that when the birds begin, none of us be missing.’ —Emily Dickinson”

And Joyce Carol Oates tweeted: “ ‘I can’t go on, I’ll go on.’ (Beckett)”