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Dawn French argues writers should be able to create characters of any race

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Dawn French
Dawn believes writers should be able to create characters of any race for their work (Picture: Jeff Overs/PA)

Dawn French believes that writers should be able to create characters of any race for their own work.

The Vicar Of Dibley star appeared on The Andrew Marr Show to promote her latest novel Because Of You, whose main characters are of different ethnicities.

When Andrew asked her whether or not a writer should be Black in order to write about Black characters, Dawn, 63, responded: ‘If we started to police who you can write in fiction, I think that is a hiding to nowhere, really.’

‘For me, my lived experience is in a multicultural family, so the norm for me is to write any colour I like,’ she continued.

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‘Obviously if you are a Black person you can write with a more authentic black voice, you most certainly can, but I can imagine any person I like.’

Dawn was previously married to Sir Lenny Henry between 1984 and 2010.

The comedian spoke about the ‘insidious racism’ she experienced throughout her marriage, as she believes people are now ‘waking up’ to more subtle forms of discrimination.

Dawn French
Dawn’s new novel features characters of different ethnicities (Picture: Jeff Overs/PA)

She continued: ‘I’ve certainly lived through some interesting racism, and vicariously through him [Lenny].

‘I witnessed it coming at him all the time mostly in quite insidious ways you can’t quite grasp and then you think, “Oh, that was an odd uncomfortable moment.”

‘Quite often I reflected back and thought, “I was witness to something there”. And there’s something we’re waking up to now, this racism is around us all the time.’

Dawn French and Lenny Henry
Dawn was married to Sir Lenny Henry between 1984 and 2010 (Picture: WireImage)

Dawn had previously revealed that during her time with Lenny, the racial abuse got so bad, that police officers moved into their home.

Speaking on Times Radio, the star explained: ‘I had never experienced anything like that until I met him and I just couldn’t believe the continual racism that happens in his life, the casual, insidious racism which I found really offensive.

‘But then the big giant “let’s smear s*** on your door and try to set fire to your house” kind of racism and I was so angry about it and that’s what got us through it…’

Speaking about the measures they had to take for their own safety, Dawn stated: ‘For a while, we had the police living inside our home when some people had scratched really racist slogans on every panel on two cars outside our house.

‘And now I have a mixed race daughter and I see what she experiences, I see it. But she’s very strong and she can sniff a racist at 200 yards and takes a nice steep swerve to the left.’

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