Who are We Trying to Reach: The Case for Academic Writing that Everyone Can Read

In 1980, my father asked each of us kids to write what we thought we would be doing in the year 2000, and then put it in a time capsule. When we opened it, I read my 12-year-old handwriting that said I was going to be a writer living in Switzerland with five children. Well, I had two kids and I live in Toronto, but I did get one thing right: I am a writer. And I’m getting used to actually claiming that, even though I didn’t for the first 20 years of my academic career. When I was at the dentist’s office, I didn’t have quick words to explain an academic writing project, so I would just say that I was a prof and leave it at that. But nowadays I’m trying to write in a more accessible way, so I like to talk about my ideas with the hygienist or receptionist. Sometimes, I wish more of my academic colleagues felt likewise.

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Who Are We Trying to Reach?

“Who are We Trying to Reach: The Case for Academic Writing that Everyone Can Read.” University of Toronto Magazine, June 2016. Republished in Medium, September 2016.