Hey guys, this is the follow up post to my post about the event I went to last week. Firstly, I'd like to say that I really did like the event. I got some great insights and I wish I'd have been less nervous so I could have talked to some of the people there. But, like I said in the first part of this post, I had some problems with this event and I should have opened up discussion in the Q&A part of the event so I could have started the conversation about this.
To start with, there were a lot of women at this event. I've read a lot of articles about how there are a lot of female authors and writers, but seeing it is different. There was one man to every ten women. Now why, do you ask, do I have a problem with that? The more the merrier, right? Not really. Mainly, it scares me that it wasn't more equal. I know that this is not an accurate representation of all writers in Western Australia, but I would have figured there would be more guys than that.
Which brings me to my next point. The room was also about 95% older Caucasian women. I've spoken before about why diversity is important, but when I looked around the room, I wondered if these women could produce diverse stories for children and young adults. Maybe they can and maybe they already do, but at my college I see a whole rainbow of different people and I'm not sure if they could write for all of these people. I heard no discussion about diversity and it was only really toughed it.
While I'm on diversity, I have one last point (for now). During the slideshow shown by one of the publishers, a book series was featured showing the Our Australian Girl books. This series is chock full of diversity. It shows all types of Australians and I wish I had this series when I was a kid. Anyway, when the publisher was showing off the books there were two slides: one with the many different covers of many different children features in various Our Australian Girl books and one featuring only two children. The latter pictures were side by side and featured two of their Caucasian characters. Are these two girls somehow better than the former girls to be featured? Or is this what we are programmed to do? Do we whitewash things without thinking about it? It worried me because here we have a great series with so much potential to shape the adults of our future into being a little more understanding of what being Australian means, and the featured books are of two white characters.
I really hope that there are writers out there in Australia who see the desperate need for diversity and are working to fix it. I hope some of those writers were at the event last week.
I have one last thing to comment on about this event, but it's less to do with the event and more to be with the publishing industry itself. I'll be posting that on Thursday so make sure to check back around them, or follow/stalk me on twitfacetumblr to keep updated.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org