karen bates
@czarinaofchaos · 1:34

Who Can Tell This Story? Anyone?

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Race and publishing, race and writing, race and class. And it's just fascinating. It revolves around the idea of who can tell a story if you don't belong to an ethnic group. Dare you to dip a toe into that ethnicity, to write from that point of view, especially if you're not being upfront about who you are in relationship to that community. So it's got my wheels turning. I'm really thinking, and I'd be really interested in hearing what you all think

#AskSwell #books

phil spade
@Phil · 3:27


And I don't know much about the publication world, I don't know much about the writing world, but I understand it has to be very cutthroat. And once you start really kind of putting barriers around that, you're really limiting the creativity of writers, I believe. So I'm a big proponent of not putting boundaries on creativity. That's a very simplistic answer to your question
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 2:49


And, you know, songwriting gives you permission to, like, take on any persona and sing it, and people might assume it's you, but it's really not. And I had 13 years as a performing songwriter, and I always would wonder if people in the audience thought I was this person I was singing about, and I had to let go of the fact they probably did. But it really wasn't about me
Tim Ereneta
@Tim · 3:14
That's one question, but you qualified it by saying especially if you are not being upfront about your connection or lack of connection to that group. I think that's an important distinction because that doesn't pass the smell test if you're not being upfront and transparent. I think, as Phil and Deborah in their responses would be pro artistic freedom and believe that artists and creative people should be able should be free to tell the stories they want. I would definitely agree with that
Nidhin George 🔷
@geo_rhymes · 1:58


And I think what really matters is are you trying to throw light or bring to the forefront certain issues that you want to highlight or it's just a work of fiction? That's the question that really matters, I feel
J.L. Beasley
@Her_Sisu · 2:41
Oh my gosh, this is a great question. And I have wandered this for years, especially growing up, and reading books about African Americans, the slave trade, whether it was fiction or nonfiction, by people who were not black. And I would read the book, and I'm not going to discredit the work. Great information, great dramatization, even down to movies. But we're speaking about books specifically
Katharine Coles
@katharine.coles · 4:33
I am often counseling white graduate students in our creative writing program who want to know how to cross these boundaries without, as they say, getting into trouble. And my first answer is cross them if you are compelled to do so, but be prepared to get into trouble. So again, of course we writers need to use our imaginations as expansively as possible and we cross boundaries all the time in doing that
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