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Saturday, October 28 • 3:30pm - 4:30pm
BBF Unbound: Writing from Privilege

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After the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, Toni Morrison wrote in the New Yorker that “the comfort of being 'naturally better than,' of not having to struggle or demand civil treatment, is hard to give up. The confidence that you will not be watched in a department store, that you are the preferred customer in high-end restaurants—these social inflections, belonging to whiteness, are greedily relished.” So what does it mean to write from a position of privilege? How should white writers navigate their privileged positions? Are writers-of-colors exempt, or are all writers inherently privileged by way of having the opportunities to pursue a literary career? In this panel, writers of a diversity of backgrounds and formats will discuss the question of who has permission to write what, and how it influences their willingness to write outside the confines of their race, gender, economic class, and so on. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, author of the memoir Fact of a Body, Shuchi Saraswat, whose essays combine photography and prose, Laura van den Berg, author most recently of the novel Find Me, and Hasanthika Sirisena, author of the short story collection The Other Ones, will discuss these pressing issues with moderator Kaitlin Solimine, author of the debut novel Empire of Glass. Whether you’re a writer yourself or just want to think more deeply and critically about the roles and responsibilities of writers, these session will offer opportunities for reflection and debate.


Moderators
avatar for Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine’s 2017 debut novel, Empire of Glass, was short-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. An earlier draft won the Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Award, judged by Colson Whitehead. For twenty years, Kaitlin has lived off and on in China, where she has been a Fulbright Fellow, singer in a rock band, and an English language TV host. Her... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg is the author of the novel Find Me, a Time Out New York and NPR “Best Book of 2015,” and two story collections, most recently The Isle of Youth, which received the Bard Fiction Prize and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her next... Read More →
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

As a law intern in Louisiana, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich worked on the case of murderer and pedophile Ricky Langley, convicted of killing a six-year-old boy. The process of researching the case shook Marzano-Lesnevich’s judicial beliefs and forced her to confront events from her past that paralleled the case. She has now developed this story into a true crime memoir, The Fact of a Body, which... Read More →
avatar for Shuchi Saraswat

Shuchi Saraswat

Shuchi Saraswat's writing and photographs are concerned with landscape, place, and the spaces we call home. In the fall of 2016, she traveled to Palestine with an interfaith peace delegation, and she's currently working on a photo essay about her travels. Her other work has appeared or is forthcoming... Read More →
avatar for Hasanthika Sirisena

Hasanthika Sirisena

Hasanthika Sirisena’s debut short story collection The Other One was released in 2016. She is currently an associate fiction editor at West Branch literary magazine and a visiting assistant professor at Susquehanna University.


Saturday October 28, 2017 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Boston Common Hotel Carver 40 Trinity Place