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
Posts Tagged: writers of color
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
The Internet may have irreversibly altered the forms activism takes, but there is still room for change. Christopher Soto reflects on activist frameworks used in 2015 and offers their strategies for working toward a more inclusive poetry community in the future:
I believe in critical conversations with my community, I believe in doing rehabilitative work for my community, I believe in repercussions but not in punishment.
For a black woman in a white world, a conversation with the self is crucial: for when she walks through that often-unwelcoming world she is subjected to confining perceptions of who she might be. When that world insists on racist and narrow paradigms, the diary gives these women a chance to scratch out and rewrite such definitions.
The problem, however, lies in the fact that, whenever these labels are internalized by those in positions of power, they flatten a writer’s experiences. They shrink someone to just a sliver of his or her identity.
Brandon Tensley writes for Pacific Standard on the limited roles available for writers of color....more
Underwriting the words on that page are the counterposing sentiments I see in many writers I know, especially writers of color: At one pole there’s, I just want to be okay; I want my family/community to be okay. At the other pole there’s, If I only reach the mountaintop I’ll be respected, valid, wealthy, etc.
The New York Times Magazine profiles editor Chris Jackson and how he’s building a literary movement for writers of color:
‘‘The great tradition of black art, generally,’’ he started again, ‘‘is the ability—unlike American art in general—to tell the truth. Because it was formed around the great American poison, the thing that poisoned American consciousness and behavior: racism.
Artmaking is a particularly human occupation. It deserves celebrating in small and big ways.
Following the trend of microfiction on Chipotle bags and short story vending machines, a new endeavor from Coffee House Press called Coffee Sleeve Conversations is setting out to print works specifically from writers of color on coffee sleeves in the hopes of giving exposure to underrepresented voices and creating more diverse conversations....more
This year’s judges of the National Book Award seem to agree that women’s nonfiction writing is abundant and prize-worthy. The 2015 nonfiction longlist includes seven female-authored books, out of 10, the largest percentage of female nominees in the prize’s history. The longlist also contains two books by people of color, compared to last year’s one.
A new, work-in-progress database of contemporary writers of color created by Durga Chew-Bose, Jazmine Hughes, Vijith Assar, and Buster Bylander aims “to create more visibility for writers of color, ease their access to publications, and build a platform that is both easy for editors to use and accurately represents the writers.”...more
But let’s talk about it! What if? What if we changed things or at least considered changing things?
The Writing the Future report . . . found that the “best chance of publication” for a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) writer was to write literary fiction conforming to a stereotypical view of their communities, addressing topics such as “racism, colonialism or post-colonialism as if these were the primary concerns of all BAME people.”
Over at FiveThirtyEight, Amy Rothschild explores the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, and the many strategies advocates are using to make a lasting change in the landscape of children’s literature. While 2014 showed a hopeful bump in books penned by and depicting people of color, institutional challenges will likely make change a slow process; Rothschild cites an overwhelmingly white publishing industry, executives dubious of the market for “niche” books, and strapped budgets of the schools and libraries that once wielded major influence on overall sales....more
Recently, we blogged about Lilit Marcus’s project to read only books by women for a year. That year taught her a lot, but there was one hitch: at the end, she realized that “of the 40 books I read this year, only six were by women of color....more
“We can’t think of gender without also considering race, class, sexuality and ability,” Gay says. “As long as we keep thinking of diversity as, ‘Oh, we need more women’ or ‘Oh, we need more people of color,’ we’re not even beginning to understand diversity.