My Junot Díaz problem (Meanjin)


At the time Zinzi Clemmons was confronting Junot Díaz at the Sydney Writers’ Festival about his past mistreatment of her, I was elsewhere in the same building attending a writing workshop on literary nonfiction. At that exact moment we were engaged in a vigorous discussion of one of the chief concerns of writing in any genre: ethics. Writing literary nonfiction involves high stakes, said our workshop facilitator Maria Tumarkin. Otherwise, it’s probably not worth writing about. Prior to the workshop she’d asked us to send in our burning questions for her to address. One of mine was how to write well about certain kinds of traumatic events from my past without going into unnecessary details because, as I wrote in my email to her, these are not my stories only...

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