The Role of the Critical Writer

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For The Awl, Maria Bustillos sits down for lunch with writer Teju Cole in Bali, where Cole recently spoke at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The two discuss art, colonialism, and the role of the critical writer. Regarding the latter, Cole says:

What it’s our job to do [as critics] is to help create and sustain value for overlooked work… The question is not always about what people are paying $50 million for, but the stuff that is only fifty thousand, only ten thousand, and getting that stuff into the museum space and have it be what it needs to be, to write books about it, to get it in the syllabus.


Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →