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Novelist Anne Tyler fears cancel culture will soon prevent her from writing male lead characters

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Anne Tyler, author of over 20 novels including Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and Breathing Lessons – Michael Lionstar 2014

Anne Tyler, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, has said she hopes to be told not to write male lead characters “anytime” in an era of cancellation culture.

Tyler, who has written more than 20 novels, including Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and Breathing Lessons, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, said authors “should be allowed” to write from the perspectives of lives they haven’t personally experienced. .

In an interview with The Sunday Times Culture magazine, he said that he did not like the term “cancel culture” but was horrified by its implications for literature.

“I’m in awe of the appropriation issue,” she said. “It would be very foolish of me to write, say, a novel from the point of view of a black man, but I think I should be allowed to do so.”

In retrospect, on the subject of cancellation, banning someone’s books or art that was later revealed to be problematic, he added: “If an incredibly talented person has written novels in the 1930s or 1940s and it’s suddenly discovered that there was anything he said or did, even something as bad as sexual harassment, he should be condemned for it, but I don’t see why they should withdraw his novels from publication.

“We couldn’t look at Gauguin’s paintings, could we? They would have to be destroyed or put away.”

When asked if she had already been advised not to write male leads, as they have appeared in novels such as The Accidental Tourist, she said, “No, but I expect it to happen any day now.”

The stories have evolved with society.

Tyler, whose 24th novel, French Braid, is due out Tuesday, also discussed how the stories have had to evolve with society.

Speaking about how his storylines with characters disappearing can no longer work in the same way, he said, “You wouldn’t believe how much the existence of cell phones in the storylines has changed.

“You can’t lose contact with someone as easily as before. You can’t lose their phone number, or if you move to a new place, everyone will know how to call you.”


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