Traditional Publishing

Rebecca F Kuang rejects idea authors should not write about other races – Monday May 29, 2023

The author of Babel and The Poppy War, Rebecca F Kuang, has said she finds the idea that authors should only write about characters of their own race “deeply frustrating and pretty illogical”.

Speaking at the Hay festival, the author, who was born in China but moved to the US when she was four, said that there is a “really weird kind of identity politics going on in American publishing”. She is “sympathetic” to an extent, as it is coming from “decades of frustration of seeing the same racist, uncritical, under-researched, shallow stereotypes”.

The problem is, Kuang thinks, is that this has now “spiralled into this really strict and reductive understanding of race”. As a result, a movement that began as a call for more authentic stories about marginalised communities “gets flipped around and weaponised against the marginalised writers to pigeonhole them into telling only certain kinds of stories”.

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