"We must be brave and we must be strong": Kai Cheng Thom talks cultural sensitivity

May 6, 2019

"We must be brave and we must be strong": Kai Cheng Thom talks cultural sensitivity

Tonight, Kai Cheng Thom gave a talk about sensitivity writing and how to write outside your own experiences. 

She started off the night reading from her poem out of A Place Called No Homeland, and then talked about working with Amber Dawn. who acted as her sensitivity reader, on the editing of the book,  Thom described Dawn's editing as  "kind interrogation about what personal experience is, and what biases and assumptions we bring to the table when writing". Ultimately, she felt the poem improved with edits. 

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Helen Chau Bradley then joined her for a discussion about the details of working as a sensitivity reader, and the collaborative nature of writing. They talked about moving away from the idea of the writer as a lone wolf, a practice that is helping add nuance and respect to the work of writers being edited for sensitivity. 

She also talked a lot about the fear of putting work out, but also the fact that writers have always had to be brave. "It is dangerous to be a storyteller, it has always been dangerous to be a storyteller", and left us with the encouragement that "we must be brave and we must be strong". 

Posted by

Eli Tareq Lynch

Events Coordinator

Non-Fiction, Poetry Support