Backtalk: Women Writers Speak Out

Backtalk: Women Writers Speak Out

Backtalk: Women Writers Speak Out

Backtalk: Women Writers Speak Out


This book contains fifteen in-depth interviews with important contemporary women writers from the United States, England, Ireland, and the Caribbean. The authors, who come from different racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds and sexual orientations, are all committed to telling the stories of people, especially women, who have been silenced in the past. By breaking silence, these writers are changing the face of contemporary literature. In direct, provocative conversation, these writers discuss their work and other topics: the influence of family members and their native communities, getting started as writers, writing as women, the role of "literary tradition" in helping or hindering their growth, the responsibility of the writer to the community, the question of writing accessibly versus experimenting, the energizing power of anger, the politics of publishing, and the impact of one's race, ethnicity, class, gender, and/or sexual orientation on getting read, published, and reviewed.


BACKTALK: Answering back. An impudent response; insolence, rudeness, impertinence, cheek, sass

To me, personally, the silencing from outside came from my family and my culture, where you were supposed to be seen but not heard. This was especially true for the girl children. You were not supposed to talk back to your elders.

--Gloria Anzaldúa

You will hear many different accents in these pages. The writers interviewed come from Antigua, Britain, Ireland, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the United States. There is a wide age range, too: from Joan Riley, who was thirty-two at the time of the interview, to sixty-six-year-old Mary Beckett. Class backgrounds differ, with most of the writers coming from working-class families, although a few were raised in the middle class and one was born in poverty. They come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds; they are gay and straight.

They write in a variety of genres--fiction and nonfiction, poetry and memoirs--and they edit anthologies of other writers' works. Some . . .

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