Crash Course: Writing Outside of Your Color Lines

Instructor: Mijha Butcher Godfrey

Is every depiction of a minority written by a white writer doomed to be stereotypical and offensive? Canceled even before creation? It doesn’t have to be that way.

This workshop will create a safe space for writers to explore the ethics of writing characters outside of the author’s ethnicity.  We will discuss and practice using tools for engaging in this kind of writing respectfully and successfully. 

Author and artist, TeMika Grooms, will speak about the book Esperanza Rising and will discuss her process for creating a realistic character, not caricature, of a Latina girl attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. 

Please bring your ideas to class. We will take time during class to sketch out a character study and share them with the class. We will all offer feedback on these sketches. We will discuss who the characters are that you want to write, what their purpose is in your narrative and how they achieve that purpose. You will benefit from having the class fully engage in your story and point out blind spots you may have missed.

This workshop is a safe space. No one person has all of the answers; we are all searching together. Students are encouraged to ask questions and take risks to facilitate learning and growth for all.

By the end of this workshop, participants will: 

  • Understand the roots of the Own Voices Movement
  • Concrete tools for successfully writing characters outside of the writer’s cultural background
  • Understand what a sensitivity reader is and how one might be helpful to you
  • Have a deeper understanding of what you don’t know and how to learn more as you embark on your journey writing characters with diverse cultural backgrounds 


Open to writers of all levels.

Class Limit is 20.

$ 85.00

Biography: Mijha Godfrey is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. Prior to forming Jambo Books, Mijha practiced law in New York, was an affordable housing developer in Atlanta and served as Finance Director for a statewide campaign in Georgia. She continues to be very active in political and community organizations. As chief curator for Jambo Books, Mijha reads dozens of books every month about minority children written by white authors and by authors of color. Encountering so many texts from different points of view has informed Mijha’s approach to this workshop. She believes that universal stories can and should include all kinds of people and that willing authors should have the opportunity and tools to tell universal stories about characters and communities that speak to them, regardless of the author’s cultural background.

Contact Information:

Date(s): Saturday. April 11

Class time: 10:00a.m. - 1:00p.m.

Type of Class: Three Hour Course

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