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'Everybody can write about everything'

6 November 2023

‘There's a kind of uncertainty among young writers about what they're allowed to write about. Not only for political reasons but also for social and cultural reasons.

And I worry about that because my view is that everybody can write about everything. If that's not true then the art of the novel ceases to exist. The question is whether they do it well or badly and to my mind that's the only question.

Otherwise, if we're in a world where only women can write about women and only people from India can write about people from India and only straight people can write about straight people... then that's the death of the art. The whole point about the novel is that you invent the world that is not and that includes inventing people who are not like yourself. If all you can do is invent people who are like yourself then that's nothing.'

Salman Rushdie, author of 20 books, including Midnight's children, The Satanic Verses, the Ground Beneath Her Feet and Quichotte, in The Times