As I set off for the AWP writers’ conference, I knew there was one panel I didn’t want to miss, it was called: “What are you? Mixed-Race Writers Find Voice and Community” and featured five mixed-race writers, including Chris Terry and Aaron Samuels, who I’d met at the Mixed Remixed Festival. This question, “what are you?” is familiar to many of us, and I love the way Heidi Durrow helps to reclaim it on every episode of her Mixed Experience podcast
The AWP panel was great – the panellists read from their work, which was inspiring, as was the dialogue that followed it. We talked about whether or not mixed-race writers leap across writing genres the way we broach so many other boundaries. Aaron Samuels even asked if any of us were ‘genre non-binary’, which made me smile. F. Douglas Brown talked about the assumption that if you’re mixed that you have a white half or part, when in fact your mixes may be both non-white. Suzi F. Garcia noted the difference between ‘how you identify versus how you’re treated’, which definitely struck a chord with me. Meanwhile Casey Rocheteau liked “the namelessness. I like being undefined because you get to define things for yourself.”
Look out for books and events featuring these talented writers!
by Clare Ramsaran