'We Need to talk about Cultural Appropriation' Event Reading List

Events Editor, A M Dassu shares a list of articles ahead of the highly anticipated SCBWI Pulse event, We Need to talk about Cultural Appropriation.

On Wednesday 8thFebruary, at the first Pulse event of 2017, SCBWI members will be gathering to talk about Cultural Appropriation.
This subject is a hot potato and has left many writers confused. Diversity is being encouraged across publishing; it has long been agreed that publishing and books need to change and 2016 saw a great shift in the way publishers are ensuring that their books are more diverse. But what’s not clear is who can write those characters in these books. Can you write a diverse character if you’re not from the same background? If you did, is that wrong? Isn’t most fiction cultural appropriation?

These are all questions that will be discussed and debated at the event. Those of you that cannot attend, rest assured, Words & Pictures have you covered.
We have a series of reports and opinion pieces due to be published - make sure you don’t miss them!

In the mean time, event organiser Candy Gourlay, and the event speakers have compiled a list of articles that will help enlighten you on the subject.

For those of you attending the event, please ensure you have read these articles BEFORE you arrive, so that everyone participating is entering the discussion on the same page.

There are plans to bring similar events to other SCBWI regions, so keep an eye out for more SCBWI Events news later in the year.


·       A great summing up of how long existent diversity issues gained prominence over 2016. “Whose story gets told, and who gets to tell it?”:

·      A piece about counter-narrative, diversity and inclusion:

·      A piece about writing “who you are” by our very own Candy Gourlay:

·      Another piece by Candy about how complex diversity is and what it means to various people:

·      A piece by our very own Costa shortlisted author Patrice Lawrence, about understanding BAME peoples’ experiences, supporting them by showing support and challenging racism and inequality by using your ‘privilege’ to create change:
Understand. Support. Challenge. by Patrice Lawrence 

·      A piece about ‘White Fragility’ and why encountering racial worldviews is important:

·      And to show the subject is not black and white; a short video of Kamila Shamsie when she gave a class on writing the unfamiliar at Somerset House:

"Never underestimate what can be achieved by the combination of research and imagination." 


A. M. Dassu rediscovered her love of writing for an audience three years ago. Since then she has become a featured writer for The Huffington Post and written for the Times Education Supplement. Her previous experience includes project management, marketing and some editorial work at Reader’s Digest. She has written five picture books since becoming a SCBWI member and is currently editing a contemporary teen novel. She enjoys planning school workshops and as a lover of hats, she spends a lot of her time choosing which hat to wear. 

A M Dassu is a member of the Words & Pictures editorial team, she manages the Events team and SCBWI BI events coverage.
Contact her at events@britishscbwi.org 
Follow her on Twitter @a_reflective 


  1. A great list - It's going to be intense! Thank you. May I add to the list -- the original speech on cultural appropriation by Lionel Shriver that set the internet on fire. Here's one response, calling the speech "a monologue about the right to exploit the stories of 'others', simply because it is useful for one’s story."

    1. Thanks Candy. It is going to be intense! I wish I could attend. I can't wait to read and share the event report.

  2. Great list. Many thanks for sharing. I wish I could be in the UK for what is bound to be a fascinating session.

    1. The tickets sold out within 24 hours, so many members are unable to attend. We will be publishing a report and a couple of opinion pieces, so hopefully you will be able to gain further insight on the subject later this month.

  3. Cool list! I read this book for the week. Have nice day)


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