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Showing posts from November, 2011

Writing About Afghanistan

In the introduction to the latest volume in the Best American Short Stories series, guest editor Geraldine Brooks, author of the National Book Award-winning novel March, makes an interesting point about the stories she read as she was trying to select the ones that would ultimately end up in the book. She lamented the fact that she read very few about the war in Afghanistan.

"There's a war on. The war in Afghanistan, in the year it became America's longest, appeared as a brief aside in only two of one hundred and twenty stories."

As a writer, I read this with a bit of irritation. Informing writers that perhaps they could have made it into the volume if they wrote more political or topical stories seemed to me to be out of line. There's nothing wrong with asking a writer to think out of the box, but this seemed more like an agenda. And though most people who make a career in the arts find talking about money distasteful, it seemed worth mentioning that while …