As I processed a dominant Euro-American writing pedagogy from the perspective of an aspiring fiction writer and an immigrant critic of color, I couldn’t stop wondering: are we, in 21st-century America, overvaluing a sight-based approach to storytelling? And could this be another case of cultural particularity masquerading itself as universal taste?
Posts Tagged: diversity
At Ploughshares, Bryan Washington explores the lack of racial diversity in the “campus novel” genre, where the students rebelling against their educational establishments are still overwhelmingly white....more
Ariell Johnson, owner of Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Philadelphia, is the East Coast’s first black female comic book store owner. For CNN, Ryan Bergeron talks with Johnson about opening up the geek world to young black girls, bringing comic authors of color to the forefront, and creating a welcoming space for comic lovers everywhere....more
Less than two percent of science fiction stories published in 2015 were by black writers. And a recent study found that black speculative fiction writers face “universal” racism—more damning evidence demonstrating the institutionalized racism in book publishing, and the importance of introducing more diversity at every level of the process....more
The publishing industry is at a cultural turning point, with recognition and celebration of writers of color on the rise. But despite the surge in the publishing industry’s interest in works by writers of color, the people working behind the scenes still lack much-needed diversity....more
Jason Benjamin’s HBO documentary Suited, produced by HBO’s Girls co-creators Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, is an eye-opening journey into the niche subject of dressing for success when you’re a gender nonconforming individual. Brooklyn bespoke tailoring company Bindle & Keep is a no-frills, two-person operation consisting of straight, cisgender male founder Daniel who fell into his calling through his non-binary, apprentice-turned-colleague Rae (née Rachel)....more
There is such a stark cognitive dissonance at present—Black writers winning prestigious literary awards and facing watermelon jokes in the same moment, White editors wanting racial diversity while still publishing racist poems.
With an introduction by new Editor-in-Chief Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, former contributing editor Casey Rocheteau dissects and describes what went wrong with “white peoples’ best intentions for diversity at The Offing,” at The Offing....more
We remember the 80s as decidedly uncool, art included. But shoulder pads and good writing aren’t mutually exclusive:
The labels didn’t matter. What mattered was revealing the world and its beleaguered citizens rather than torturing them with edifying or otherwise aspirational myths that no one could (or should) hope to live up to.
David M. Perry writes for Pacific Standard on the newest wave of progressive speculative fiction. Perry writes in conversation with Daniel José Older, author of Shadowshaper and the Bone Street Rumba series....more
The books we read in childhood don’t always hold up to our memories of them. Sometimes it’s just a matter of juvenile or bad writing, but other times, it’s the author’s prejudices that turn us off as adults—and classic detective stories can be particularly troublesome:
Chesterton’s glorious evocations of light, landscape, and unnerving, lurid strangeness remain compelling.
Hey! We’re white! And we all voted for Obama! Twice! We should do something to help the literary downtrodden.
American literature is already frustrating enough with publishing sorely lacking in diversity. But things can be even worse when the white-dominated industry tries too hard to appeal to writers of color....more
While Lani’s sole purpose in the book seemed to be a genderqueer Jiminy Cricket, pulling the wool back from Claire’s incredibly naïve eyes, they allowed me to look past the narrative I’d been told since birth.
Over at Lit Hub, Carla Bruce-Eddings recalls how reading What Happened to Lani Garver during high school helped her understand what “other” truly meant....more
According to Publishers Weekly, publishing is so white because publishers—particularly the Big Five—have failed to implement concrete plans to diversify their hires. One publishing HR exec said that even though hiring quotas are risky and make people uncomfortable, an alternate plan is to do outreach through organizations like the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and We Need Diverse Books, and set internal targets that are actually enforced....more
As part of a series on diversity in publishing at Brooklyn Magazine, Molly McArdle talks with professionals across the publishing world about the state of diversity in the publishing industry today....more
A survey by book publisher Lee & Low showed that 78 percent of the publishing workforce is composed of straight white women, causing headlines about how women run publishing. But that’s not the whole story:
Yet these attention grabbers glazed over one of the more subtle aspects of the data, which shows that while the industry employs far more women overall, the difference is smaller at the executive level, with “approximately 40% of executives and board members identifying as men or cis-men.” As the compilers of the DBS report note: “This reflects the reality that males still ascend to positions of power more oven, even in female-dominated industries.”
We believe this is critical to our future: to publish the best books that appeal to readers everywhere, we need to have people from different backgrounds with different perspectives and a workforce that truly reflects today’s society.
Penguin Random House has dropped the requirement for job applicants to have a college degree in hopes that it will broaden the range of experiences in publishing....more
Books by white dudes are so inescapable that some readers have taken to (temporarily) swearing off their work. Jezebel’s Jia Tolentino considers whether those efforts are misguided:
We know that white male writers take up too much literary attention; the solution is not necessarily jamming everyone else into a bottle of social justice cough syrup, standing on a soap box, and gulping it all down.
Reading is an important part of developing as a writer. But what happens when all the books and authors we read are a homogenous group of white males? Non-white, non-male writers may still end up defaulting to writing about white male characters....more