Lilith Feature

Writing from the Outside

We are living in a time of what may seem like necessary xenophobia, where strangers, or—more pointedly—strange people, are to be feared, shunned, rejected. Jews know about this: “Because you were strangers in the Land of Egypt” is a leitmotif in the Jewish narrative. Women know about this. We’ve been “other” when the norm has been male. And in the hierarchical world of children who’s in and who’s out packs ever more fire power. So this year, for our annual spotlight on books for young readers we asked a number of writers: Are there ways you personally have experienced “outsider” status? Have outsider/insider experiences as a Jew and/or as a person sensitive to gender issues influenced your writing? Do particular books from your own youth stand out as illuminating this continuum from alienation to feeling fully included?

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