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Further Defining #OwnVoices

Thank you to a reader for asking this important question.

This is a serious question but I see nowhere to send you direct questions. My friend, who is Pakastani, has an MS that is half-finished, it’s a suspense novel that takes place in Pakistan. She wants, however, to get it published here. I told her to look on #MSWL but I don’t know whether to direct her to calls for #ownvoices. Yes, she’s Pakastani, and yes, her characters are Pakastani, but she’s not an immigrant (she lives here temporarily for her husband’s job), and frankly, not remotely disenfranchised. Her characters live in an exclusive boarding school, and have immense wealth – as she does in real life. But #ownvoices seems to have this tinge of “If your skin is a bit brown, you are own voices.” In other words, a Scots person couldn’t use the hashtag for her Scottish mystery. I don’t think. Maybe I’m missing something.

Thoughts?

Your friend should absolutely call her book #OwnVoices. From the perspective of publishers and people in the US, she is from a marginalized community and yes, I suppose you could further define that as “if your skin is a bit brown.” She does not need to be an immigrant.

I actually love that she is not disenfranchised or representing characters who are. A big part of the #ownvoices movement is that we are looking for books featuring marginalized characters living regular, everyday lives, not necessarily books about being marginalized. In fact, mostly not about being marginalized.

I hope your friend keeps me in mind when it’s time for her to start submitting.

Thank you so much for the question.

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2 comments

  1. “books featuring marginalized characters living regular, everyday lives, not necessarily books about being marginalized” are books I like to read. Good luck to your friend, Charlotte.

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