Mar 17 • 47M

Sensitivity Reader Reboot: looking your topic from all the angles, with Jordan Shapiro and Jazz

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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.

Recently, someone on Twitter asked if sensitivity readers are still a resource writers utilize and where to find them. Yes indeed, sensitivity readers are still a great resource, and since we interviewed Jordan Shapiro and a sensitivity reader he worked with on his book, Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad. I hope you enjoy this re-airing of episode 266 the #AmWriting podcast.

Hey all, Jess here. When I agreed to read and blurb Jordan Shapiro’s new book, Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad, I was struck by the attention he paid to inclusivity and the language he used to describe it. When I mentioned it to him, he told me he’d used a sensitivity reader named Jazz to ensure he got the language right.

Sensitivity readers are becoming more of a norm in publishing. Jodi Picoult has tweeted about how much she depends on hers to get her descriptions, language, and representation right in her books articles like this one in the Guardian and this one in Vulture are great primers on the topic.

We asked Jordan and Jazz to join us to talk about the experience of working together to create Father Figure.


Jazz: What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She by Dennis Baron

Jordan: Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

KJ: Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Jess: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

If you love a good writing retreat—especially one that comes with good solid coaching and the chance to meet others who are working on similar projects—here’s one to check out. This fall, three Author Accelerator certified book coaches are offering Mainely Memoir, a retreat for women writers in historic Biddeford, Maine, held over three days in the gorgeous Maine woods in September, with one-on-one coaching both before and after the retreat. It’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself the gift of time and focus so that you can make real progress on your memoir this year. Find out more at

Out of #AmWriting episodes and in need of another podcast? Check out A Bookish Home. I’ve been a guest, and it’s a delight.  Librarian and writer Laura Szaro Kopinski interviews a different author each week, so you can  Add to your TBR list while getting the inside scoop on the winding road to publication.  Coming up this spring will be Amy Poeppel, Sarah Penner, Maggie Smith and many more. Find it here on Apple podcasts or search it on your pod player of choice.

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