In January I took part in a groundbreaking discussion about diverse books. Modelled on the successful conference in New York #weneeddiversebooks and run by inclusive Minds. The afternoon and involved publishers, writers, librarians, teachers, storytellers and others in the field discussng and thinking about diverse books. The afternoon opened with an introduction by Beth and Alex of inclusive minds. The key note was by Anna Quin, author of among many other the gorgeous Lulu series. The session was run ‘ speed dating’ style in that the facilitator moved from table to table. The questions focused on the following:individuals personal reasons why diverse books are important, barriers to getting diverse books in our respective industries and how we can over come these.
On our table common themes and issues emerged, including:
The question of labelling books as featuring a character who is in someway diverse and yet keeping it main stream. In terms of libraries the restrictions of having to use a library supply company who may not stock a title, the cost of using independent bookshops or publishers and the devolvement of book selection to consortiums as well as the inevitable budget restrictions. In publishing points came up including how to get past the gate keepers to get the books into shops. There was also a discussion regarding how to encourage new authors to approach publishers, and how to get the message out we want well written, good quality books that include diverse characters in a casual way, not issue books
We went away with own individual actions points, one of which for me was to spread the word and talk about inclusive books and stories.