Why you should use a sensitivity reader

Employing a sensitivity reader is as much a matter of writing craft as it is of ethics.
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Working across cultures requires openness to criticism. Image Shutterstock.

Lionel Shriver – the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin – is definitive in her thoughts about ‘sensitivity readers’ – cultural experts who check manuscripts when authors are writing outside their own cultural milieu.

Shriver has described the practice as a form of censorship. It ‘has a gagging effect,’ she said. ‘Unrelenting anguish about hurting other people’s feelings inhibits spontaneity and constipates creativity. The day my novels are sent to a sensitivity reader is the day I quit.’ 

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Alison Croggon
About the Author
Alison Croggon is an award-winning novelist, poet, theatre writer and critic. She has 30 years experience reviewing performance for outlets such as The Australian, the ABC and The Monthly and generated an international reputation as a performance critic with her influential blog Theatre Notes. In 2009 she was the first online critic to win the prestigious Geraldine Pascall Critic of the Year Award. Twitter: @alisoncroggon
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