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What Stories Are Marginalized Writers Rewarded For Telling? What Happens When They Don’t?

Books sit on shelves in the Duke Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, England.
Books sit on shelves in the Duke Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, England.

You’ll often hear that novels can be a way for people to empathize with experiences that aren’t their own. But this has often meant that writers of color and writers from marginalized genders are expected to be tour guides to their readers. To these audiences, these authors may expose worlds of trauma and violence with their storytelling. 

These stories are important and necessary. But what would it look like to tell different ones? Ones that center joy, ones that “paint fully realized lives on the page,” as writer Bryan Washington told The New Yorker. 

In our new series “The Writers’ Room,”  we bring you conversations with writers who are thinking about a range of issues in their life and work each month.

In this edition, we’re talking about the kinds of stories marginalized writers are rewarded for telling and what happens when they don’t. 

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.


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