Six acclaimed Australian authors recently came together at RMIT to debate one of the hottest current topics in creative writing.
‘Write what you know’ is a directive often given to creative writing students, encouraging them to write from their own experience.
But that then begs the question – what if you want to write from the perspective of a different gender, culture or sexual orientation? What if you want to write a fantasy or sci-fi? What if your story is set on another planet?
In the form of an old fashioned debate, the ABC’s Claire Nichols from The Hub on Books asked six authors to argue for and against the topic ‘write what you know’.
On the affirmative team, supporting the proposition, was author of Wimmera and RMIT alumnus Mark Brandi, author of Terra Nullius Claire Coleman and author of The Book of Dirt Bram Presser.
Arguing for the negative team, debating against the proposition, was author of The Monsoon Bride and RMIT lecturer Michelle Aung Thin, author of From The Wreck Jane Rawson and author of The Rosie Project and RMIT alumnus Graeme Simsion.
While Simsion said that writing what you know would have deprived the world of some of its most popular and acclaimed writing, Coleman argued that it was not about whether you could write what you know, but rather whether you should.
Story: Shelley Brady