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I watched this video about a week ago and I just loved it so much that I wanted to share it on Ermilia. There are so many interesting points Elif Shafak raises about books and writing. One of the most interesting ones was ‘write what you don’t know’. I feel like writers are often encouraged to write what they know. I don’t think that’s bad since writing what we know increases the likelihood that we are more accurately writing the event/characters etc. But I’m a writer who keeps wanting to venture out and write what I don’t know. Is that bad? I want to explore other races, cultures, and worlds that I have had little or no contact with. Although I will add that I believe in these circumstances the author has a greater responsibility to do their research.

I also found her point about multicultural writers being pigeonholed was interesting and I had never paid much attention to it before. International writers shouldn’t just be famous because of a novel that is perceived to represent them or their culture in some way. Why can’t their interesting novels be promoted in English-speaking countries, even if they have nothing to do with the author’s home country. How many interesting stories are we missing out from international writers just because the stories aren’t “international”?

What spoke to you the most from this talk? What do you think about writing what you don’t know?

– Ermisenda