Ben Yagoda

  • Jared and Corin
  • Ben Yagoda

“Should We Write What We Know?” is an essay written by English professor Ben Yagoda and posted on the New York Times Opinionator blog. I spotted it being touted on Facebook by my friend Henry Kisor.

“Wisest ideas about writing I’ve seen in a long time,” said Kisor. He’s a novelist and former book editor, and he likes Yagoda’s answer to the headline’s question. The answer is yes, of course, Yagoda observing that a “mediocre writer who knows his stuff to the very depths of his soul” will write a better piece on that stuff than an “accomplished writer” whose grip on the subject is tenuous. (The Reader was launched in 1971 on the premise that inexperienced writers tackling subjects close to their hearts would not only write about them well, but often be willing to write about them for nothing.)