Voice to Books: Magical Realism and BIPOC Authors

  Magical realism is often associated with the works of Latin-American authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, and Jorge Luis Borges. However, in an essay for the New York Times titled “Saying Goodbye to Magical Realism,” Silvia Moreno-Garcia describes how the term can be problematic and limiting, not just for Latin-American authors, but for writers as a whole. By mislabeling works as magical realism, she says, we lose our chance at having more “nuanced, complex conversations about books”—e.g., how stories might fit within multiple genres, moods, aesthetics, and textures beyond easily marketable categories that unintentionally strip them of…

Voice to Books: We Need Diverse Writing Workshops

Ask writers from a marginalized community about their workshop experiences, and far too many can reply with stories of being stereotyped, exoticized, infantilized, or disregarded—by fellow workshop participants and instructors alike—for being queer, non-white, female, gender-nonconforming, disabled, neurodivergent, etc. Although more people have vocalized these concerns and requested more diverse creative writing faculties, budget cuts and hiring freezes sometimes hamper even the most well-intentioned attempts at equity and inclusion. But that means writing instructors must hold themselves accountable for creating more open-minded learning environments and take action. Claiming support for marginalized communities is not enough; true allyship involves making a…

Voice to Books: Queer Voices of Color

Constraint is often the birthplace of creativity, but it is also the birthplace of struggle and limitation. Arguably, no other people know this better than queer people of color. Faced with the oppression of their very existence, their intersectional identities allow them to thrive in radical self-acceptance and illuminate the horrors they and others face in their daily lives with grace and fearlessness. In this issue of Voice to Books, we highlight queer authors of color and the characters of color in their stories who show that their identities are more than just checkboxes on questionnaires. We also see glimpses…

Voice to Books: Refugees

They are displaced, sometimes hunted, persecuted. Peoples forced from their homes due to war or violence. And if they come to the United States, only a fraction of them get in, and fewer still are welcomed by the masses. Here, those who survive poverty, politics, and ruin in their homelands are then confronted by those who spread violence, use them through their desperation and duress. You may not find them in the news or know of their troubles, but they exist all over the world. These are some of their stories. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai Reviewed by…

Voice to Books: Celebrity Authors

Celebrities often take an omnipotent position in modern society, acting as paragons, villains, and jesters of our time. Their opinions are met with adoration or disdain, satire, and protest. They influence style, commerce, and politics, and we, the readers, guide their rises and their falls. They walk the fine lines of artists, athletes, influencers, and journalists who must balance both media and fan judgment and constant watchful eyes. It is easy to see these people as something more than the rest of us, forget that they are human. This month’s Voice to Books showcases these celebrities that embody disproportionally underrepresented…

Voice to Books: Disability in Full View

According to the CDC, one in four people in the United States live with some type of disability, whether visible or less apparent. Without respectful discussion and proper representation in the media, those living with disabilities are often stereotyped and misrepresented. This is also true for people who don’t always consider themselves disabled, such as Deaf and Blind folk. This month’s Voice to Books highlights these voices, because no one is able to express their stories, which are found in every community and culture, better than they do. Ellen Outside the Lines, by A. J. Sass Reviewed by Alexandra S.…

Voice to Books: Indigenous Experiences are Individual and Numerous

In this month’s Voice to Books, we’re highlighting Native American authors and their stories. The colonized view of native people often mashes together diverse communities and nations into a misrepresented and false narrative of who they are. By giving space to their individual experiences, better representation and understanding can take place. The works listed below are as varied as the cultures they represent. A crime novel, a collection of nonfiction short stories, a memoir, and a YA novel show a small selection of the wide range of stories by Indigenous authors. Fire Song  by Adam Garnet Jones Reviewed by Michael…

Voice to Books: Horror Screams Our Truth

When most people think of horror, they may think of Stephen King or the bloody slasher movies from the ’80s. While these movies and books have made a lasting impression on the genre, they are often dominated by a straight white male view—demonizing and objectifying not only marginalized communities but cis het white women as well. But horror has many authors and storylines to share with readers beyond the straight white male. From those stories, horror is used to reflect on and discuss sensitive social and cultural issues. These reviews highlight women—POC and white—and their personal horrors that are intensified…

Voice to Books: See It, Read It, Love It

Graphic novels intertwine words and illustrations to allow their authors to say what they need to without descriptions. Their audiences don’t need to imagine their worlds; they can see them. Art and words are used strategically to tell stories. Simplicity and silence, lavish details, and verbose prose, or vice versa, tell these histories. The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker Reviewed by Pallavi Yetur Graphic novels contain multitudes. Comic book writer Alan Moore, who penned the groundbreaking Watchmen series-turned-graphic novel from 1986 to 1987, has lamented the term “graphic novel” as a marketing ploy devised…