The first major book for writers to more effectively engage with complex socio-political issues—a critical first step in creating social change

Product Code: 3182
ISBN: 9780807046494
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 240
Published Date: 10/04/2022
Availability:In stock
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Price: $18.95

Writers are witnesses and scribes to society’s conscience but writing about social issues in the twenty-first century requires a new, sharper toolkit. Craft and Conscience helps writers weave together their narrative craft, analytical and research skills, and their conscience to create prose which makes us feel the individual and collective impact of crucial issues of our time. Kavita Das guides writers to take on nuanced perspectives and embrace intentionality through a social justice lens. She challenges writers to unpack their motivations for writing about an issue and to understand that “writing, irrespective of genre or outlet, is an act of political writing,” regardless of intention.

The book includes essays from a fascinating mix of authors, including James Baldwin, Alexander Chee, Kaitlyn Greenidge, George Orwell, Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz, Gaiutra Bahadur, Jaquira Díaz, and Imani Perry. By including Das’s own perspective and those of the featured writers about motivations and approaches to writing about fraught social issues, this book both demystifies the process of engaging social issues on the page, and underscores the intentionality and sensitivity that must go into the work.


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"Brilliant! A must-read for anyone who cares deeply about social and political issues and wants to make their own voice heard. Kavita Das’s Craft and Conscience aims to bring out the inner activist in your writing—whether you’re an emerging writer or an established one—by showing you how to articulate your motivations, by showcasing essays from masters of the genre, and by analyzing what forceful, well-thought arguments are made of." —Laurie Gwen Shapiro, author of The Stowaway

"An instructive guide for writers hoping to move the needle, Craft and Conscience gathers some of our best contemporary writers, like Alexander Chee, Kaitlyn Greenidge, and Nicole Chung, while Kavita Das's steady voice introduces prospective writers to critical writing in our dystopian era." —Matthew Salesses, author of Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping

"For writers seeking guidance on how to write about social justice with compassion and insight, Das curates an eclectic mix of essays by authors who’ve long contemplated the immense struggles facing humanity, while proffering a thoughtful way of bearing witness to the world that can help them get there." —Tanaïs, author of In Sensorium: Notes for My People and Bright Lines

"Kavita Das’s book is part how-to, part call to action. It is 100 percent lyrical and passionate and will resonate with anyone who is compelled to share and transform narratives that reflect the world. Filled with prose and practicality from some of the greatest writers and thinkers of our times, Craft and Conscience feels like the action plan we always intend to put in place after our fiery salons, dinner parties, and community gatherings. It is more needed than ever." —S. Mitra Kalita, founder and publisher of Epicenter NYC and cofounder of URL Media

"In Craft and Conscience, Kavita Das constructs a vocabulary, a methodology, and an ethics for socially engaged writing, while bringing together a staggering range of writers and issues. In the process, Das makes a profound and compelling argument for why this kind of writing matters and the radical, transformative power it holds. This book has restored my faith in the written word." —Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings

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