We’re aiming to have the meet ups every couple of months, so look for an announcement for a date in late May! We’ll announce it here on the tumblr, as well as via the library calendar. Glad to hear you’ll be joining us!
I got a great question in my Reddit Iama and it’s worth sharing here, as Tumblr has been the forum for much of the conversation about John Green, the NYTimes bestseller list, and the state of YA World right now.
Question: Hi Laurie! Loved TIKOM (and everything else) and I’m super stoked to meet you at LeakyCon this year!
Anyways, I was wondering if you had anything to add to the ongoing discussion on the “John Greenification” of current YA Lit (and don’t get me wrong, I love me some John Green, I’m a huge Nerdfighter and have been reading his books for years). There has been a lot of discussion lately on how the (admittedly flawed) bestseller lists are so male dominated. I’m curious to hear what you think about all this?
Thanks for everything! Speak gave me so much courage in my formative years, your work is much appreciated <3
I am so excited about LeakyCon! (A bit nervous, too - please introduce yourself if you see me there so I’ll feel like I know someone!)
John is friend of mine. In addition to being his friend, I’m a huge fan of his work; the books, Nerdfighters, Crash Courses, all of it. I love the guy. He is making the world a better place.
Because of his visibility, he is also catching the flak for what I see as a larger cultural issue. America is still very male-dominated; white, middle/upper class, straight, male-dominated.
Some of us have been writing YA for many years and have done quite well in terms of our books being published enjoyed by readers. But the media (it’s always The Damn Media, isn’t it?) noticed John’s body of work and his vibrant and large Internet community and his celebrity, then started talking about this new-fangled “YA thing.” Then The Damn Media started looking for other dudes writing YA.
Welcome to the patriarchy, my friends.
John is a kick-ass feminist and a superb ally to everyone fighting against oppression and marginalization. He is also a human being who deserves time with his family and time to be quiet and to write, in addition to whatever else he wants to do. He is not responsible for the sudden dudification of the NYT Bestseller list, nor is it his responsibility to somehow magically fix it. The social problems and pressures that have created this mess are much older and deeper than any one person can repair.
HOWEVER - we are having the conversation. Occasionally we’re getting angry and yelling. We have MILES to go before we sleep, but we’re moving in the right direction. I’d like to see everyone who is pissed off about the uneven coverage of YA books (and authors) to call The Damn Media on the carpet and tell them what they are doing wrong. Gather the contact information of the reporters, editors, editorial boards, and corporate owners of media outlets that are writing skewed or under-informed pieces about YA literature and share them publicly. Share what you write to them. Contact Hollywood peeps and tell them about other great books that could be movies.
(Shameless self-promotion - I wrote a couple books that would be great movies, IMHO!)
Then seek out and talk and blog and vlog and shout about the books and authors that The Damn Media is not talking about yet. Let me get you started with some suggestions: Kekla Magoon! Coe Booth! Alex Sánchez! Jason Reynolds! Mitali Perkins! Nikki Grimes! Malinda Lo! Cynthia Leitich Smith! Jaime Adoff! Octavia Butler! Eric Gansworth! Jacqueline Woodson! Sumbul Ali-Karamali! Rita Williams Garcia! Meg Medina!
Want more? Follow Diversity in YA’s tumblr
We are still in the early days of the growth of YA fandom. It is a beautiful thing to watch, kindred spirits coming together over a common passion. We all want great books that represent every kind of story from all kinds of authors. We have the opportunity and responsibility to find and promote those books and authors. We have to be the change we want to see.
There is more food for thought on this subject here in an earlier post from Catagator.
Thanks for the chance to talk about this, and most of all, thank you so much for appreciating my work!
Because Laurie Halse Anderson knows what’s up. As does catagator.