Letters to a writer of color

Format: Print Book 2023
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
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A vital collection of essays on the power of literature and the craft of writing from an international array of writers of color, sharing the experiences, cultural traditions, and convictions that have shaped them and their work

"Electric essays that speak to the experience of writing from the periphery . . . a guide, a comfort, and a call all at once."--Laila Lalami, author of Conditional Citizens

Filled with empathy and wisdom, instruction and inspiration, this book encourages us to reevaluate the codes and conventions that have shaped our assumptions about how fiction should be written, and also challenges us to apply its lessons to both what we read and how we read. Featuring:

* Taymour Soomro on resisting rigid stories about who you are
* Madeleine Thien on how writing builds the room in which it can exist
* Amitava Kumar on why authenticity isn't a license we carry in our wallets
* Tahmima Anam on giving herself permission to be funny
* Ingrid Rojas Contreras on the bodily challenge of writing about trauma
* Zeyn Joukhadar on queering English and the power of refusing to translate ourselves
* Myriam Gurba on the empowering circle of Latina writers she works within
* Kiese Laymon on hearing that no one wants to read the story that you want to write
* Mohammed Hanif on the censorship he experienced at the hands of political authorities
* Deepa Anappara on writing even through conditions that impede the creation of art
* Plus essays from Tiphanie Yanique , Xiaolu Guo , Jamil Jan Kochai , Vida Cruz-Borja , Femi Kayode , Nadifa Mohamed in conversation with Leila Aboulela , and Sharlene Teo

The start of a more inclusive conversation about storytelling, Letters to a Writer of Color will be a touchstone for aspiring and working writers and for curious readers everywhere.
On origin stories / Taymour Soomro
On structure / Madeleine Thien
On authenticity / Amitava Kumar
On humor / Tahmima Anam
On character / Tiphanie Yanique
On trauma / Ingrid Rojas Contreras
On translation / Xiaolu Guo
On queerness / Zeyn Joukhadar
On telling and showing / Jamil Jan Kochai
On the inactive protagonist / Vida Cruz-Borja
On crime fiction / Femi Kayode
On violence / Nadifa Mohamed in conversation with Leila Aboulela
On art and activism / Myriam Gurba
On the second person / Kiese Laymon
On political fiction and fictional politics / Mohammed Hanif
On reception and resilience / Sharlene Teo
On the ideal conditions for writing / Deepa Anappara.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In this essay collection, novelists Anappara (Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, 2020) and Soomro (Other Names for Love, 2022) bring together authors of color from all walks of life, extending empathy and wisdom for aspiring fellow writers. The contributors are unapologetic in their suggestions to unlearn westernized rules for storytelling and to reimagine and dissect their craft without the white gaze. They encourage readers to decentralize the understanding of (and pandering to the feelings of) a white, cisgender audience. Themes of authenticity, trauma, structure, and voice are communal but are addressed with an endearing level of intimacy. The authors also expose the gaslighting they've experienced in traditional publishing pathways, offering truth full of both caution and defiant inspiration. The resulting book is a beautiful collage of advice with a recurring directive: writers must bring their full selves to storytelling. Elements such as social status, environment, community, and cultural traditions all play a part in making well-rounded characters. At the end of each essay, a list of suggested readings offers avenues for further research. This captivating love letter to writers of color deserves to be in every library the world over."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this impressive collection, Anappara and Soomro bring together deeply personal essays from authors of color on the craft of writing. The selections interrogate the ways in which the "tenets of good writing" privilege "a Western perspective," and they consider what alternative approaches to fiction grounded in the experiences of people of color might look like. In "On Crime Fiction," Femi Kayode recounts worrying if his second novel, focused on the societal "systems" that led to a lynching in Nigeria, would satisfy the expectations of mystery readers. The standout "On the Second Person" reads like a short story and tells of Kiese Laymon's struggle to get his first novel published over his editor's complaints that Laymon had not yet mastered being "a real black writer." Other essays grapple with the expectation that writers of color should act as "representative of your country and your people," as when Tahmima Anam meditates on embracing humor while flouting the expectations of white readers. There's not a weak piece among the bunch; each brims with intimate personal reflection and insight into the purposes and power of fiction. The result is a vivid look at what it means to be a writer of color today. (Mar.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Fiction -- Authorship.
English fiction -- Minority authors -- History and criticism.
English fiction -- 21st century -- History and criticism.
American fiction -- Minority authors -- History and criticism.
American fiction -- 21st century -- History and criticism.
Minority authors -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Minority authors -- United States -- Biography.
Cultural pluralism in literature.
Literature and race.
Authors and readers.
Literary criticism.
Publisher New York :Random House,2023
Edition First U.S. edition.
Contributors Anappara, Deepa, editor.
Soomro, Taymour, editor.
Language English
Description vi, 263 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
ISBN 9780593449417
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