Authenticity & Authority in Culture-Specific Writing

Do you write stories set in particular cultural settings, such as foreign countries, or featuring ethnic/religious sub-groups? Do you fear that you may fall under scrutiny regarding the “authenticity” of your stories or your “authority” to tell them? In this session we will explore relevant topics, including the use of language, dialect and italics; how to approach cultural taboos and clichés; tackling reader expectations and possible prejudices; being (or not) a cultural ambassador; how much to explain; and more. We’ll use short excerpts of published works to analyze our reactions and help inform our decisions regarding our own stories.