Episode #5: ‘Why Do You Always Write About White People?’

October 1, 2014 · 55:07

“Why do you always write about Native Americans?” people ask Sherman Alexie.  “Why do you always write about white people?” asks no one of Jess Walter.  And that provides the linchpin for a provocative discussion about how and even if writers should write about other races, genders and cultures.

They both read from works where they themselves write from the perspective of someone not like them: Alexie as a white girl talking to her brother’s ghost, Walter as a child dealing with the question, “What are you?”

Later, Sherman interviews poet Erica Dawson, who also reads from her works, “When The Cities Forgot Our Names” and “Take With Food.”


  • “Nothing bad or interesting has ever happened in a Starbucks.”
  • “Hey, Jess, can I write a story set in a J. Crew store?”
  • “Nine books by white guys and Beloved.”