Writing The Other

Dates: January 6, 13, 20, & 27: Wednesdays from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, Pacific Time Zone. Find your time zone
Online via Zoom
Faculty: Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford
Tuition: $75 usd
Registration: available below, or by contacting writing@kahini.org.
Writing The Other | Register | Writing The Other: Faculty | Facilitators


Writing The Other: A Practical Approach 

Do you avoid writing characters whose gender, race, age, economic or geographical background, belief system, or other aspect of identity differs from your own?

In this renowned workshop, fiction writers Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford teach how to write sensitively and convincingly about characters of backgrounds different than your own: getting it right and creating a full, representative world. And we’ll also look at how writing characters from backgrounds similar to your own requires just as much craft technique.

Appropriate for all fiction writers, the workshop will combine lecture and writing exercises in a supportive atmosphere. Through this workshop, you’ll build a craft toolkit in how to craft real characters.

In this workshop, you’ll learn to write character!





Nisi Shawl is the co-author (with Cynthia Ward) of “Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences for Successful Fiction,” a creative-writing handbook in which participants explore techniques to help them write credible characters outside their own backgrounds and lived experiences.

Shawl’s short stories have appeared in multiple magazines across many different genres, including literary fiction, science fiction, and many other forms, and their books books include “Everfair,” “Good Boy,” and “Filter House.”

Shawl is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and a 1992 graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. Their stories have been shortlisted for the Theodore Sturgeon Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award.

Shawl’s first novel, “Everfair,” was released in September 2016 by Tor Books. “Everfair” is an alternate history of the African Congo, Europe, and the United States during the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Shawl’s archives are housed at Northern Illinois University.

K. Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction writer. Tempest’s fiction has appeared in such award-winning magazines as Strange Horizons and Electric Velocipede,as well as best-selling anthologies. Her essays and literary criticism have appeared in many publications and venues, including NPR.

She volunteers for a number of non-profit organizations, served as a juror for the 2008 James Tiptree Jr. Award, organized fundraising auctions and salons for the Interstitial Arts Foundation, and raised funds for Clarion West, her writing workshop alma mater.

Currently, she serves on the board of the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. She has taught Writing the Other classes since 2014.



Ananya Sarkar is a short-story writer, book reviewer, and poet. Her work has been published in such magazines as The Times of India, Woman’s Era, New Woman, 4indianwoman, Children’s World, KidsWorldFun, Muse India, Induswomanwriting, Conversations Across Borders, Indian Ruminations, Earthen Lamp Journal, Spark and The Madras Mag. Ananya won the first prize in both the Story Writing Contest by the American Library, Kolkata, as part of the Fiction Festival 2008 and the Induswomanwriting Poetry Contest, 2012. She was also a prize winner in the LoudReview Review Writing Competition, 2012 and Writers’ HQ Story Competition, 2016. Reading books, watching sitcoms and going for long walks are her favourite hobbies.

Wairimu Mwangi is the founder of the Literature Africa Foundation. Her novels are available widely; her educational textbooks are used in schools across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ghana. She is passionate about quality education for all and believes that without books or material to read, literacy suffers and when literacy suffers, opportunities decline. She enjoys mentoring youth, storytelling, travelling, reading and meditating.

Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja is the founder of Writing Our World, an organization in Uganda that uses writing, debate and spoken word to give a platform to people to express themselves. He is an events organizer who also runs the the writers’ club ‘Coffee and Books’ that happens monthly in Kampala. In 2014, his story ‘Walls and Borders’ won the Eastern Africa Writivism Literary prize.

Jordan Hartt is the author of two collections of narrative poems: “Leap” (Tebot Bach, 2015) and “Drifting,” (Tebot Bach, 2018). A third collection, “Paradise,” is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2021.

His lifework is creating experiences where people find the writing craft to reach for their best artistic and human selves, find the writing community to connect with others, and find the ongoing inspiration of the writing life.

To do this, he edits Kahini Quarterly; facilitates Kahini+; and hosts five annual writing retreats: one each in Poʻipū, Kauaʻi; Maunaloa, Molokaʻi; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lahaina, Maui; and Puako, Hawaiʻi. A little more about his ethos, if interested.