Welcome to Day 9 of the totally unofficial EWF Book Club.
Thankyou everyone for the tweets & Facebook help.
And – a massive thankyou to the EWF writers who’ve written up the contributions despite impending deadlines/festivals/overseas travel and so on!
Now, let’s keep going…
Today we discuss Alice Pung’s Ethnic Literature’s hot. And important too.
Alice’s piece is the final in a series of 4 essays in the book, under the banner ‘Writing from Elsewhere’. I was fascinated to see her play with with ‘from elsewhere’ means. And whether you or your ‘elsewhere’ are the most important thing.
Alice explains how her book ‘Unpolished Gem’ was poorly received in America because “Asian-American writers… had moved beyond writing Ethnic stories.” And it’s interesting to see how this was a revelation to her. As she goes on to advise other WWDLLTCON* writers…
“The stories about eating yum cha with your family.. don’t tell us how to use chopsticks… tell us why your brother is silent at the table, why your grandmother won’t cut her little fingernail…”
It’s sad to think that the ‘pigeonholing’ we do in order to sell – or just explain – a book is something that writers can do to themselves. But Alice peppers her piece with good advice, and wraps it up beautifully.
“Culture is important, but not the be-all and end-all. In the end, there must be a real breathing human being beneath it – and that is character.”
*WWDLLTCON = ‘Writers Who Don’t Look Like The Cast of Neighbours’
(I made that up, but you’re welcome to borrow it)
What did you get out of Ethnic Literature’s hot. And important too? Please – hit the comments below!
Come back at midday tomorrow and we’ll feature…
For an easy no-spam reminder, just scroll ‘up and to the right’ and subscribe via email or RSS. Or follow me on Twitter. I’ll be tweeting the latest post each day with the hashtag #EWFbookclub.
Would you like some more people to talk to? Help spread the word!
If you’re not a Twitter user, a quick link to this post on your Facebook, blog or similar would be appreciated.
Thanks for joining the totally unofficial EWF book group – see you tomorrow!