The issue of cultural appropriation, and writers representing a culture, religion or ethnicity that is not their own, is an ongoing and lively matter of debate in contemporary culture. Less often discussed is the expectation that writers from BAME backgrounds should write characters or create settings that are entirely bound up with their cultural, religious or ethnic heritage; but with this expectation, is there also responsibility? To write positive, favourable representations? To focus on themes of identity and discrimination?

If the depiction is negative, or rather than subverting, reinforces stereotypes – what happens then? And are BAME writers held to account for their creative decisions in a way that white writers are not?

Join A.A. Dhand and Kia Abdullah as they interrogate how far BAME writers should feel ‘responsible’ when writing about their heritage – and how far the expectations of the reading public and the publishers should be disregarded?

About The Speakers

Kia Abdullah

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from London. She has contributed to The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC and Lonely Planet, and is the founding editor of travel blog atlasandboots.com read by 200,000 people a month. Kia’s novel, Take It Back, is published in August by HarperCollins.

A.A. Dhand

A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a convenience store. He worked in London as a pharmacist and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and began writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.