Lionel Shriver’s full speech on literature and cultural appropriation

Why Evolution Is True

On September 11 I wrote about an article in the Guardian by black Australian Muslim author Yasmin Abdel-Magied. Her piece, “As Lionel Shriver made light of identity, I had no choice but to walk out on her,” describes how Abdel-Magied was deeply triggered by a speech by novelist Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin and other books) at the Brisbane Writer’s festival.  In fact, Abdel-Magied was so offended that she walked out of Shriver’s talk. She was offended for two reasons: the pervasive “cultural appropriation” of white writers (Persons of No Color) dealing with the lives and experiences of minorities, and the fact that by writing about such minorities, PONCs were in fact denying minorities the right to publish their own novels. Abdel Magied:

Rather than focus on the ultimate question around how we can know an experience we have not had, the argument became a tirade. It became…

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