Authenticity and the Right to Write

right to write

On May 15th and 16th I’m leading a conversation on the Right to Write with the International Women’s Writing Guild. In preparation, I wrote a guest post sharing my experience discussing this topic with Air Force Academy cadets:

As a war-literature author, I frequently face questions about authenticity and the right to write. Readers want to know: What authority do you have in this field? How did you convey war without experiencing it? These questions face writers of all genres: “What right do you have to write about X?” At the heart, lies a debate about permission, but I believe that debate stems from limited principles. Experience is not the only teacher, and thank goodness for that, because our lives depend on our abilities to imagine.

In 2015, I spoke to Air Force Academy cadets studying my book of short stories, Flashes of War. “Do soldiers ever get angry at you for writing about war?” more than one cadet asked. You’d think I’d have my response down pat. But the moment was important, and my heart thrummed in my chest. I took a deep breath and explained – READ FULL BLOG HERE

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