On authors and their politics

As a former journalist, I am and forever will be anti-censorship. Goodness knows I don’t want whichever administration is in power at the moment telling me what I can say/think/write. But should novelists write about their political beliefs? And is it wise to do so? Some might argue that those with a platform have a responsibility to do so.

I visited the Facebook page of a popular author last week. I simply wanted to know what she was writing next, but instead I was treated to her thoughts on the new president and his administration, her experience in a local women’s march, and a brief bit of back-and-forth with some readers who disagreed with her views.

I had mixed emotions upon seeing her political posts. On the one hand, I often admire those with the guts to stick up for what they believe in. This author clearly feels very strongly about some things going on in our country right now, and I assume that she wants to make a difference regarding those policy areas she disagrees with. (Me too!) But while I actually agreed with much of what that politically minded author had to say, I was disappointed that she seemed so in-your-face with those who disagreed with her.

On the other hand, I read a Facebook post by another author who shared an opinion I disagreed with very much. We are polar opposites on the specific issue she addressed, yet she acknowledged those of us who hold another point of view, tried to explain how she views the issue, and was so respectful of her readers that she even invited them to contact her privately for further discussion. I was greatly impressed by her respect for her readers and by her constructive, thoughtful manner of engaging them.

So now I’m less interested in reading the author whose political opinion I agreed with, and I’m more interested in reading the author whose opinion I disagreed with. I finally realized that one author showed her readers respect, and one did not. Respect wins me over every time, no matter what opinion you may hold or which side of the aisle you sit on.

Do you mind reading about an author’s political beliefs? Does it affect how you view the author?

2 thoughts on “On authors and their politics

  1. You know, I really don’t want to know an author’s opinions. I’d rather enjoy his/her books in blissful ignorance of the author’s political views. This may be due to my extreme dislike of politics, but I find myself less likely to enjoy reading a book by an author whose outspoken political views annoy me. He or she is certainly entitled to an opinion different from mine, and to express it on his/her personal blog or similar forum, but I’d rather not have to know it.

  2. When I read a book, article, how-to guide, I only want to be entertained or informed.
    Just like like with celebrities, authors are selling themselves, not their views. I could not care less what my favorite author thinks of our new president and his new policies.
    The day I rely on a celebrity for political info, is the day I should decide to never vote again!

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