30 October 2011

What's a Nubian?

Went out last week to the Diversity in YA Fiction tour stop in San Diego. Despite sorta living here, it's the very first book event I've ever been to in my area. Crazy right? This stop featured DIYA founders Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon, along with their special guests Holly Black, Cinda Williams Chima, Karen Healey, and Greg van Eekhout.

All six are fantasy authors and that lent an interesting perspective to the topic of diversity. There were discussions about writing beyond your own experiences, dealing with people who say your work isn't authentic, and how easy it can be to get things wrong that might hurt people -- even by accident or oversight. However, all of this doesn't mean that writers shouldn't write about what they don't have direct experience with, as long as they do their best to research and to be respectful.

Greg van Eekhout made a great point about how unlike making a movie, if you don't like something in a book, you don't have to do an expensive reshoot, you can just make edits on a document. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, how convenient it is to be a writer from an equipment standpoint. Most other artists need cameras, brushes, kitchens, instruments, special shoes, etc. Writers don't need much of anything to get down to work.

Author Mette Ivie Harrison live tweeted some quotes and highlights from the hour and a half long panel. I took a transcript of her tweets here. While the DIYA tour is now officially over, the DIYA blog is still going strong so head on over to check out the monthly new books, features, interviews, and guest posts by a variety of book people.

While we're semi on the topic, I totally recommend this site: Comp Lit and Mediaphilia. Hannah is a getting a few graduate degrees right now at Simmons and she talks about a great mix of writing, politics, books, and literature on her blog. The first post I read of hers was "Biracial Literature #3: The Finding Identity By Going on a Literal Journey Trope," and was immediately compelled to read what she thought about everything else. I'm pretty sure you'll feel the same way.