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The Alt Write

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If we’re more careful with language, hopefully less people will think that gestures mean things. Because they don’t.

Roxane Gay

Our favourite writers move us and inspire us: our imaginations, our humanity, our understanding of the world. But sometimes their writerly purpose can carry a little more bite. What is the role for the writer as shit-stirrer and agitator, provocateur and agent for change?

With host Michael Williams, four incredible writers and contrarians – Roxane Gay, John Safran, George Saunders and Brit Bennett – discuss how they push against platitude, prejudice and power in their writing. Are we living in a ‘post-truth’ era of degraded language, where the integrity of words and meaning are under siege? Is it just the nature of language? Is meaning always up for grabs?

And, in such an age, what, if anything, is the responsibility of the writer? Is it to change minds? Or even the world? These four very different writers – whose work traverses overt provocation, subtle subversion and radical inclusion – get down to the nitty gritty of the politics and purpose of the act of writing.

Photo of the panel

George Saunders, Roxane Gay, Michael Williams, Brit Bennett and John Safran — (Photo: Jon Tjhia)

Photo of the panel

From afar — (Photo: Jon Tjhia)

Discussion

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