The Hakawati and Me: The alarming inability to distinguish between the marginalised author and their fictional characters

The Clothesline Swing

I wonder sometimes if navigating the line between fiction and non-fiction and being steadily clear on which side of this line you’re on is a curse only authors of marginalized backgrounds and identities must balance on. The logic holds because, to my knowledge, non-marginalized authors are not asked about the truth in their fiction or the imagination in their memoirs: No one asks French-Canadian Booker winning author Yann Martel about his experiences living on a boat for 227 days with a tiger and a zebra. No one wonders if Elizabeth Gilbert inserted a bit of fiction into her memoir of eating pasta, practicing Shavasana, and drinking wine with a warm-blooded Latin lover.