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Jabeen Akhtar lists the 17 tropes that immigrant fiction need to stop writing about including an arranged marriage, a dead grandmother, a journey to the homeland to discover ‘oneself’ and fabrics “swirled, bellowed and dangled’ at regular intervals. While her piece is funny (and an excellent way to generate controversy which sometimes seems the only way for authors to get any attention in today’s increasingly difficult market for all books ), most writers write what they need to write instead of what an editor might certainly buy in which case we’d all be writing thrillers, mysteries and sci-fi. Akhtar seems to write about terrorism which in itself is becoming another over-done sub-genre and perhaps a cliche crisis in itself. But then what is one to write about: Use the tropes but give a fresh angle. Such as an article on why you must not use the tropes.

Binywayna got it. He wrote about what the publishing industry expectations rather than chastise authors for the choices they make. An author herself Akhtar surely knows that most writers take at least a year or two before producing a book and so choose a topic that interests them, Often the topic chooses them.


But do authors really use their ‘brown, otherness’ to get published? Is it fair to say an author stuck Shiva and Lakshmi in a novel, because you know, dem publishers sure do like their Hindu Gods.

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