The Guardian

Stop telling authors what they can write. The only limit is imagination | Kenan Malik

Condemning a white novelist for writing on Mexican migrants is to create gated cultures
Supporters have hailed Jeanine Cummins’ new book as a Great American Novel. Photograph: Joe Kennedy

‘What insults my soul,” Zadie Smith has written, “is the idea… that we can and should write only about people who are fundamentally ‘like’ us: racially, sexually, genetically, nationally, politically, personally.”

Both as novelist and essayist, Smith is one of the most subtle guides to the fraught terrain of culture and identity. The problem of – writers and artists being called out for having stepped beyond their permitted cultural boundaries to explore themes about people who are not

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