Social Responsibility in Fiction, featuring Naomi Kanakia

Apr 8, 2024

Naomi Kanakia

What does it really mean to consider your own social responsibility as a fiction writer? Guest Naomi Kanakia confronted that very question as she considered her modeling as a trans author writing YA books for teens. What if hers was the first book a genderqueer or trans kid ever read? What did she owe her reader? These are some of the questions at the heart of this week’s episode, but we also look under the hood of the publishing industry a bit, too, from the perspective of an author who’s “inside/outside,” who’s writing across many genres, from sci-fi to lit fic, and who has a certain kind of privilege but still lives on the margins. A truly interesting episode with a guest who’s not afraid to speak truth to power.


Naomi Kanakia is the author of three YA novels and a nonfiction book, What’s So Great about Great Books (coming out next year from Princeton University Press). Her stories, poetry, and essays have been published in American Short Fiction, Asimov’s, Gulf Coast, and others. Her latest novel is called The Default World and it’s also forthcoming this spring, from The Feminist Press. She has an MFA from Johns Hopkins and was an Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow at Lambda Literary’s 2015 Writers Retreat. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter.

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