Dec 18, 2020 • 45M

Episode 242 Finding All the Voices: Writing Reflective #Nonfiction with Julie Lythcott-Haims

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Writing nonfiction outside the memoir space usually means finding sources and stories that are not your own. Narrative, self-help, history, economics, social sciences, nature—no matter what your topic, this form of writing requires reporting, just as many freelance assignments do. So where do you go when you’re looking for sources? Often, your own backyard—and for lots of us, that can mean we inadvertently only talk to people who share our perspective, and sometimes our privilege.

Nobody knows that better than Julie Lythcott-Haims. For all her books, and most particularly for her latest, Julie has made it a point to draw from sources that reflect the diversity of our larger national experience. We talked about finding those sources, owning the need to seek out specific points of view and how you know when you’ve got it right.

Links from the Pod

Ed Yong’s article in the Atlantic about what he’s learned as he’s worked to diversify his sources:

Adrienne LaFrance on gender bias in her own reporting:

Our Minisode on diversity in sources for non-fiction work, from light-hearted articles on favorite baby food flavors to seriously researched pieces for high-profile outlets. BIPOC, non-binary and women are outweighed by white men when it comes to who gets quoted in the news, whether the voice is adding an expert perspective or just a little local color. In it, we suggest the following:


Informed Voices

NPR’s Source of the Week and how to use it.

Columbia University’s list of female, non-binary and BIPOC experts on the media



Julie: The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs

Jess: Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition by Patricia Churchland

KJ: Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Sarina and KJ have news!

The Chicken Sisters is out tomorrow, 12/1. Today’s the last day to pre-order! Signed copies here, here, Amazon here—and if you order from your local indie and fill out this form, I’ll mail you a signed bookplate.

Sarina's novel Bittersweet, the first in her USA Today bestselling series, is currently free at all vendors. Farmers make the Earth move. Amazon:





Book-gift shopping? Grab KJ’s 12 Days of Books to Give (and Get) list here for everything you need for your Austen-loving brother, your thriller-hound mom and the friend who craves a cozy escape.