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Tag Archives: diversity
Treading the waters of diversity is tricky because we never want to disrespect the struggles that women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, or others have had to endure. As writers, we often want to include people like this in our stories because their stories are powerful and can make a difference. This sometimes manifests itself as ‘the gay friend’ or ‘the black friend’ or if you’re really batting for a home run ‘the gay black friend’. This character is great for diversity. He shows that those people exist and that we shouldn’t be afraid of them. But over time, if we see the gay black friend over and over it creates a subliminal message that all gay black men behave a certain way, and that can damage the community. I think we should allow those characters to break the mold and keep it to themselves.
From the Surrey International Writers Conference, Sunday, October 23, 2016 keynote:
I would ask if you’re having a good time but I know that you are, I’ve been so impressed by the enthusiasm, the professionalism, and the talent here, and amazed at how well the presenters are taken care of by the conference. Thank you for the chance to be here.
I figure you are all already stuffed full of writing advice, so I wanted to give you some things for after the conference. First off, go home and sleep. Decompress. You’ve been working hard all weekend and you deserve it.
Like many folks, I read the Fireside Fiction report with dismay and anger, but not a lot of surprise. We’ve been talking on the SFWA Board about the findings this past week.
What can SFWA do about it? I could go in full guns blazing and demand that every editor involved in the situation resign and threaten to take markets off the Qualified List if they don’t shape up immediately. This action would, however, probably get nipped in the bud the minute I proposed it to the rest of the board. As I’ve noted before, SFWA is slow and hard to steer. Enforcement on this level is also difficult and impractical, I think, because this selection doesnâ€™t usually happen in the open or in an overt way.
On some other boards I frequent, the question of how to make a publication more diverse has been coming up. Here’s a couple of pieces related to that. The editors of Tin House and Granta discuss how they worked to make their publications more diverse. Anne Finch talks about similar editorial practices. For a breakdown of what the gender ratio was of book reviewers and books reviewed, see the 2012 VIDA count.