International Writing Program (IWP) Panel Discussion Series: Writing the Not-Self
Writers often create characters different from themselves. When such a character “belongs” to a distinct, recognizable group—perhaps a minority—challenges may arise. What is the writer’s responsibility toward representing the “other” accurately? What effort in understanding, empathy, research may be needed?
Manuel BECERRA (poetry; Mexico) is the author of five books of poetry, including Instrucciones para matar un caballo [Instructions for Killing a Horse] (2013). A winner of six national poetry awards, he has had fellowships from the Foundation for Mexican Letters, the Mexico City Institute of Culture, and Art Omi in upstate New York. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State.
Soukaina HABIBALLAH (poetry, fiction, screenwriting; Morocco) has four poetry collections and one novel [The Barracks] (2016), with a second novel forthcoming in 2019. Habiballah has received many awards including, in 2015, the Buland Al Haidari Prize for Arabic poetry, and the 2019 Nadine Shames Prize for Arab Screenwriters for her short film [Who Left the Door Open?]. Her poetry has been translated into seven languages (including English). Ms. Habiballah participates courtesy the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State
The Atayal writer and activist WALIS Nokan (poetry, nonfiction, fiction; Taiwan) founded the Hunter Culture Magazine, which developed into the Research Center for Humanities of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Peoples. An author of two dozen books, most recently a volume of flash fiction [Path of Dreams], he has received awards that include the United Daily News critics’ top honors for prose, and Ministry of Education’s Award for Literary Creation. He participates courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.
ARAI Takako (poetry; Japan) has published three poetry collections, including Tamashii dansu [Soul Dance] which won the 2008 Oguma Hideo Prize. Since 1998, she has been an editor for the poetry journal Mi’Te; she has also edited a volume of poems about, and is producing a film connected to, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. The poem volume Factory Girls is forthcoming in English. Arai teaches Japanese and poetry at Saitama University. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.