How does the language you use affect your writing?

We asked writers to talk about how being multilingual affects their writing. Many immigrants and refugees are forced to give up their native language, while others are encouraged to learn many more languages. Their experiences shape how they view language, and even which language they prefer to speak, write, or think in.

Laila Lalami

“Language is connected to POWER, the ability to speak, the ability to narrate, the ability to sort of CONTROL the story, right? And if you control the story, you control the world.”

Learn more about Laila

Amitav Ghosh

“My writing emerges from that BORDERLAND between MANY languages.”

Learn more about Amitav

Reyna Grande

“It’s also a source of SHAME because I feel that I’m BETRAYING my mother tongue by writing in English.”

Learn more about Reyna