Tag Archives: white

Poetry: Winter Wishes by Ashley Tan

Winter Wishes by Ashley Tan

Ashley T

Ashley Tan

Ashley hails from a small sunny island proudly known as the Little Red Dot and holds an uncanny penchant for all-things pink. As the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Timeless Compass (www.thetimelesscompass.com), an online history and politics publication, she has had the pleasure of working with youths from all around the world to produce thoughtful commentaries on the complex state of the world and the past that accompanies it. Having written for poetry publications including Anapest JournalBlue Marble Review and Moledro Magazine, Ashley hopes to continue with her foray into the literary world to discover all of the hidden gems it has to offer.

I’m Indian. Can I Write Black Characters?

“The debate about whether writers should create worlds and characters based in cultures other than their own is an important one.”

In retrospect, it seems incredible I didn’t anticipate the questions.

My seventh novel, “Everybody’s Son” — about an affluent white couple, their adopted black son, and his search for identity and reconciliation with his past — came to me in a flash of inspiration. I wrote the story in a white heat, in about four months.

So I was unprepared for what interviewers I spoke to about the book asked me: Why, and how, had I chosen to write from the perspective of an African-American protagonist? I hadn’t expected this line of inquiry to come up because, although race and racial identity are central preoccupations of the book, I saw Anton not just as a black character, but as a singular, distinctive character born of my imagination and efforts.

I soon realized I had been naïve. While I might define myself as an American writer, I grew up in India. That means, to many, I’ll always be an Indian-American writer, with all the freight that the hyphen carries.

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