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Karen Lord on Writing Diversity


“Writer from an Other Culture”

Karen Lord, the Caribbean author of a book I recently reviewed, has written an insightful article for the book section of the Huffington Post about what it means to be an author from an unfamiliar culture. In it she defines what “culture” means to a writer and what a writer from an Other Culture brings to readers. We may recognize the differences in the use of language or structure of a story, but what she sees as important is surprise “from the things we don’t know are different.”

“I am a West Indian writer, no matter what I write. The culture is in my phrasing, my brand of humor, the personalities of my characters and the philosophy that underpins my stories,” Lord says. It is not enough to recognize what is familiar in a story from an author from an Other Culture. She urges us to be sensitive to what we don’t know. “You will find it in those moments of story that make you pause, or even stumble. That is where the culture is, bouncing off foreign objects that you never knew were there.”

I think this is wise advice for those of us reading books by authors from a wide variety of cultures.

Read the entire article at

Books by Lord include Redemption in Indigo and The Best of all Possible Worlds.


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