Recently Sisters in Crime did a survey into diversity in Crime Fiction. I participated and was glad to see the report came out earlier this month. You can read the full report here. Included in the report are resources for finding mysteries written by or about minorities.
Sisters in Crime will be hosting "SinC into Great Writing VIII - Writing our Differences, Doing Diversity Right" on the Wednesday of Bouchercon in New Orleans. You can register for it here. I think you have to register before Sept 1st. Speakers include Walter Mosley, Greg Herren, Cindy Brown, Linda Rodriguez, and Frankie Bailey. The afternoon ends with a panel of the presenters. I will join them on the panel to give some perspective from the publishing world.
I hate that SinC even needed to do a report on the lack of diversity in crime fiction. It is something that I look for as I acquire books. I strongly believe that our audience is out there and the time is past due to address the overwhelmingly white, straight POV that dominates our genre. We can do better than that. And we will.
I could probably rant about the lack of diversity for a long time. In fact, I just deleted a lot I had written. I worry that because this is such an important topic to me that I will 1) get a little too emotional and 2) attract some trolls. Which would make 3 happen - that is where my brain explodes much like it does when I read too much about the current Republican nominee.
If you follow the #ReportforChange hashtag on Twitter, or Sisters in Crime on Facebook, there are some very powerful quotes there. Well done, Sisters!
See you all next week!
Ok, I lied a little bit. I will say this. In the past I believed that if you wanted to get a feel for a generation or for a sense of place, crime fiction was the way to go. In general, crime fiction does give an amazing slice of life. If you read James Lee Burke, Walter Mosley, Michael Connelly, William Kent Krueger, etc, then you know what I am talking about. Barbara Neeley blew me away when I read her books. But those folks are just a sliver of what is being published. It has become incredibly hard for people of color, women, LGBTQ, women of color, and diasabled writers to be published by mainstream publishing. Most of the time, the main characters are not people of color. And they certainly aren't lesbians. This is probably the best line I read out of the whole report:
Exactly this. We are cheating ourselves and our readers when we create straight white stories. It doesn't reflect our world, and it doesn't reflect our readers. Let's do better. Let's all do better.