AO: Given the diverse cast of players in Biscuits (assorted) how did you approach the responsibility of ensuring an authenticity to the voices you were bringing to life on the page?
ROBINS: Oof. Yeah. I read a lot. I looked at and listened to the world around me. I sought advice when I felt I needed it, and paid for it where appropriate. I probably have messed something up and will end up offending someone. But you can do that even if you only write about people that fit your exact identity profile, right? The scenes or throwaway lines that deal most directly with issues of identity are mostly things that I have seen or heard about first hand. The way that Samarah’s English teacher speaks to her for example, is something I saw happen in real life to a Somali student I knew. And yes of course when I drew her henna I tried my best to get the patterns accurate. But having her know about Pink Floyd, or watch horror films from between her fingers – that didn’t require any research. What I do believe is that we are all a combination of the expected and the unexpected. In London many people do grow up in or grow into a mix of different cultures and there’s a certain amount of common experience here. But no-one is 100% a stereotype, or 100% unstereotypical. As Hana puts it: “we are all simultaneously unique snowflakes and parts of the snowman.”
Read the interview between Jenny Robins and Andy Oliver for Broken Frontier in full HERE.
Biscuits (Assorted) is available to buy now.