Anthropology in Context: The “craft” of writing
The podcast This Anthro Life recently spoke with Anita Hannig about the “craft” of writing and her new book Beyond Surgery: Injury, Healing, and Religion at an Ethiopian Hospital.
Hannig emphasises the importance of creating a writing routine, one that facilitates concentration but also prevents burn out. Hannig’s routine includes a cup of green tea, switching off her email, and writing in the morning. She says it is through repetition of a daily routine that good writing can take place.
Hannig’s commitment to the “grind” helped her complete her new book on Ethiopian women’s experiences with obstetric fistula. In the book, she analyses biomedical care as a “quick-fix” for obstetric fistula, and illuminates the lived expereinces of patients in two repair and rehabilitation centres. She guides the reader through problems with the label of “culture” and redirects their attention to issues with access to medical care in Africa.
Hannig also discusses writing for a wider audience and finding balance between theory and ethnography. She suggests reading Renegade Dreams for anthropological inspiration in formatting ethnographic texts for a wider audience; for example, by removing theoretical discussion from the main text to the footnotes. She also suggests reading Storycraft for insight into writing ethnography as narrative nonfiction.
If you want more tips on writing as a craft and writing for your audience check out the This Anthro Life podcast.
What is your writing routine?
Do you have any writing tips or resources?
Which ethnographies inspire you?