Have you heard of any non-native English speaker who was successful as a writer in English?

This is kind of embarrassing, but is it possible to reach a native level skill in written English? Have you heard of someone whose written English was impeccable?

Feb 13, 2016 10:43 AM
Comments · 7

There are famous works of fiction written in English by non-native speakers too. Just think of Nabokov or Joseph Conrad. Conrad is known for his strong Polish accent in spoken English while being recognized as a great prose poet in writing. More recently, Afghan born Khaled Husseini has become a bestselling author. I'm sure Google could give you many other examples.

Over 500 million people in this world have acquired English as a second language. Millions of those non-native speakers write English at a "native" level. Here on italki for example, we encounter many highly educated native speakers with a special interest in languages. Their native language is usually excellent and doesn't always reflect the average skills of native speakers. Colin is right; most native speakers make mistakes as well. 

My impression is that most of these questions about "reaching a native level" come from users who live in the Middle East or certain Asian countries. Exact statistics are hard to come by, but it's widely accepted that the average English proficiency in the Middle East is very low, especially compared to Northern Europa. The fact that learning English is obviously harder for native speakers of Arabic or Chinese than it is for someone who speaks Dutch or Swedish, is obviously a major factor. I also think, however, that it's more encouraging when you actually ''know'' that many others in your country have mastered English already. Several of my Arabic language partners have complained about the level of English of their English teachers in high school. If your teachers aren't really fluent, I can imagine that learning English seems like an impossible task. It's not, though! :)

February 13, 2016

I can quote few Indian authors whose works has been acclaimed internationally. Most of them are Indians, others adopted some other nationalities later, and one or two are of Indian desecent born outside India:

<em>R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand , Raja Rao, V. S. Naipaul, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Agha Shahid Ali, Rohinton Mistry, Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Nayantara Sehgal, Kiran Desai, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Shashi Tharoor, Vikram Chandra, Arundhati Roy, David Davidar, Suketu Mehta, Arvind Adiga</em>, and many more. If you are interested in knowing more about them you can search on google.


I can give names of many English poetry writers from India as well.


There are writers from other countries too who write in English and their work has been critically acclaimed.

February 13, 2016
I'm not sure about fiction, but there are plenty of non-native speakers who have written textbooks in English. Keep in mind that even native speakers make mistakes. That's what editors are for.
February 13, 2016

Salman Rushdie, Arvind Adiga, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai these all are non-native speakers of English. These writers are winners of Man booker prize. 

If I mention names of all non native english writers then space will fall short to write names of all. 

February 13, 2016

Keep in mind that even native, professional-level writers have their work revised, appraised and edited by several people before their work is published.

That said, I have a couple of non-native friends who write creatively in English, and their writing is impeccable. It's certainly possible.

February 13, 2016
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