Prompted by Elizabeth Dauphinee’s The Politics of Exile, the paper explores the political potential of novel ways of writing in International Relations. It begins by examining attempts to distinguish between narrative writing and academic writing, fiction and non-fiction, and to give an account of what narrative might be and how it might work. It argues that although distinctions between narrative writing and academic writing cannot hold, there are nevertheless ways of judging the practical political effects that writing can produce. It briefly examines feminist, postcolonial and other IR scholars who collect other people’s stories or tell their own, and points to an instructive body of work in fiction and literary non-fiction beyond the discipline. It argues that writing that disrupts linear forms of temporality and instead inhabits trauma time can open the possibility of an aesthetic political practice and suggests that we foster such a creative practice in International Relations.