One-Day Seminar: Writing About Social Issues
The current fraught socio-political climate is motivating nonfiction writers to engage with social issues on the page. The personal has become political, and the political has become personal. In truth, the writer has long played a role as a witness, conscience, and predictor of social change.
In this one-day seminar, Writing About Social Issues, we will consider the following questions. How do we write compellingly yet responsibly about social issues? How do we write about the world as we’d like it to be without coming across as Pollyanna or propaganda? We will investigate these questions through readings and discussions about work by writers which engage social issues.
Motivations for and implications of writing about social issues
Understanding the context versus the narrative
Writers will leave with more grounding in how to write compellingly about complex social issues with nuance and sensitivity.
Readings that demonstrate a range of approaches to writing about social issues
How to balance providing context with telling a compelling story
Kavita Das worked in social change for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness, to public health disparities, to racial injustice, and now focuses on writing about culture, race, feminism, social change, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in Longreads, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her essays on social issues have been included in creative writing textbooks. Kavita’s first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar (Harper Collins India, 2019), is a biography about the Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer, who played a pivotal role in bringing Indian music to the West. Her writing can be found here. Contact: email@example.com