Writing Life

Migration & the Immigrant Experience in Literature

Any week is a good week to talk about the importance of—and need for—the representation of diverse experiences and voices in literature. For much of our history, the canon of literature has been largely white, largely male, largely straight—and very much centered around American and white European voices. But literature can also share the stories of those whose voices have been marginalized and Otherized: those whose stories (like all our stories) are at least in part shaped by their overlapping identities.

At this present moment, at this point in our country’s history, as many (often white, often male) people engage in xenophobia targeted at immigrants of color, we thought it would be a good moment to talk about a few books that center around individual immigrant experiences.

To help those navigating the U.S. immigration system, organizations like RAICES, The Bail Project, KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights all supply immigrants with legal aid and resources, and do worlds of good with the donations they receive.

Writer Spotlight: On the Inimitable Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me. Hope In the Dark. A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Storming the Gates of Paradise. The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. These are just a few of the titles written by the writer Rebecca Solnit, a brilliant prose writer, sharp cultural critic, and vocal environmental advocate.

In addition to writing some twenty-odd books on feminism, western & indigenous history, and power & social change, among other topics…

On Reading, Writing, and Difference-Making

For many of us, it's felt like the past two years have been filled with increasingly-dark political days. It can be difficult to know where to turn, to find what—if anything—can make a dent, can turn a tide. In stories, readers see characters who do the right thing—and the wrong. Particularly as young readers, we learn how to foster empathy, to step outside of ourselves and into others' shoes. In seeing our beloved characters struggle with what's right and wrong, and how they should act, we see the importance of weighing our own moral compasses and standing up for what's right.

Inside Cornelia's Notebooks

If, one day, you find yourself talking with Cornelia Funke, you'll likely find your eyes drawn to one of several A4 notebooks she carries with her—to events, to the beach, scattered around her home. Just looking at the covers, it's clear Cornelia is an artist of both words and images, and her doodled collages lend so much character to the notebooks in which she writes her stories.