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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Race and writing

I came across this on the BBC News web site this morning - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39988992


Author Anthony Horowitz says he was "warned off" including a black character in his new book because it was "inappropriate" for a white writer.

The creator of the Alex Rider teenage spy novels says an editor told him it could be considered "patronising".

Horowitz wanted a white and black protagonist in his new children's books but says he is now reconsidering.

"I will have to think about whether this character can be black or white," he told the Mail on Sunday.

Horowitz, who has written 10 novels featuring teenage spy Alex Rider, said there was a "chain of thought" in America that it was "inappropriate" for white writers to try to create black characters.

He said it was considered "artificial and possibly patronising" to do so because "it is actually not our experience".

"Therefore I was warned off doing it. Which was, I thought, disturbing and upsetting."

Horowitz, who has written a new James Bond book, went on: "Taking it to the extreme, all my characters will from now be 62-year-old white Jewish men living in London."


There is a little bit extra in there, because a few years earlier he had commented that actor Idris Elba was "too street" to be the next Bond, and had apologised to him later. But this whole thing does show how writing for a race other than your own, brings out the political police.


Look at Stephen Moffat. A 55 year old white guy from Scotland, he's currently writing Dr Who episodes and the current companion is Bill Potts, a teen/early twenties black woman who I think is from London, and she's homosexual.


One of the questions I would like to hear Moffat answer, is how he does this and avoids criticism... or if he does get it, how he handles it. Even if he does rely on the actors being able to add their own interpretations, I don't believe that Mackie (who plays Bill) is homosexual... or even if she was, no one seems to be getting on anyone's case about it.


It's not what you do... it's how you do it. That is the only conclusion I can take away from this.