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Sunday, April 7 • 11:30am - 12:45pm
10L: Researching Into the Void FULL
Limited Capacity filling up

Unless every character you write is exactly like you, fiction involves writing across difference. Those differences might be ones of identity and demographics, or they might be ones of knowledge, experience, setting, and historical era. With so much valid concern and debate around the touchy issue of appropriation, writers can find themselves crippled by fears: Do I have permission to write this? What if I get it horrible wrong? Even if I do it well, will people be upset that I wrote outside my own life?

Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a novel that took the author far outside her own lived experience and her own identity, and in this talk she will share not only the essential questions she asked herself as she wrote, but the strategies—of research, of craft, and of publishing—she arrived at by the end. We’ll discuss techniques for researching lives unlike our own, for approaching filter readers, and for making sure we’ve done our approached our characters with the respect they deserve.

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Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Great Believers, The Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower, as well as the short story collection Music for Wartime. Her short fiction won a 2017 Pushcart Prize, and was chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four... Read More →

Sunday April 7, 2019 11:30am - 12:45pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor