Cultural appropriation. Authenticity of voice. Stereotyping. Diversity. All issues that the publishing industry is currently grappling with. In this series of free-to-view videos author Vaseem Khan presents some practical guidance in tackling these topics, based on research funded by the UK Arts Council, and featuring advice from writers, readers, and a host of industry professionals. Project partners include Hachette UK, the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association, Spread the Word, and A.M. Heath Literary Agents.
In Vaseem’s own words: “We now live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to know what may or may not cause offence. In the publishing industry, a particularly contentious topic is when authors write characters not from their own cultural identity. The fact is that writers borrow from other cultures and experiences all the time. In other words, I believe that all authors should have the right to write whatever they choose – if they approach the task with rigour and empathy.”
In these videos Vaseem presents insight into the debate around diversity in the publishing industry and offers lessons and recommendations for best practice when writers choose to write across cultural boundaries.
Please scroll to the bottom of the page to view the videos.
The series of five videos cover the following topics:
- Video 1 – Diversity in Fiction: a review of the landscape
- Video 2 – Cultural Appreciation versus Cultural Misappropriation
- Video 3 – Write what you know: Mining your Heritage
- Video 4 – Write what you don’t know: Writing in the ‘forbidden zone’
- Video 5 – Recommendations and a checklist for creating diverse characters in fiction
These videos will be released over five weeks in October and November 2021, culminating in an online event with Vaseem where a free-to-download PDF guide accompanying the series will be launched on 7th December 2021. At that event Vaseem will offer further insight into the project and answer questions raised by these often highly-charged topics.
To be kept informed of the release schedule of the videos, the PDF, and the final launch event please register here.
“My current work in progress features both a woman of colour as my lead protagonist and characters from the UK Muslim community. As a white writer not from this community, I have found the advice and guidance from this project exceptionally helpful and informative and I feel more confident in that I am now able to shape my characters in a more authentic way.” ~ Tana Collins, author, Jim Carruthers series.