So last week I signed up for this most important event. Why is this important? Aarti explains why.
"I've spoken on this blog (and in other forums) about the lack of diversity in fantasy fiction, particularly fantasy fiction of the epic nature. If epic fantasy has diversity, it is often present in a fashion that mirrors the stereotypes of Medieval Europe, with Viking-like invaders from the North and Infidels from the East and uneasy peaces and petty wars with those that look most like the heroes of the stories. This is unfair for many reasons that I hope I don't need to enumerate here. And of course, there are absolutely amazing authors whose books are populated by characters of every size, shape, color, and species. But it's still difficult and frustrating to be a fantasy reader who comes up against the same tropes in every book. Because while fantasy novels can be, well, fantastic, they can also be very repetitive and tell the same story with different character names. And I can't help but think that at least part of the reason is because of the lack of diversity in fantasy book authorship. Because it is hard to break into the fantasy genre as a new author, generally. And even more difficult if your book is about a person of color. And most difficult of all if you yourself are a person of color writing stories about characters of color.
"Did you know that there are more books in publication about people of color that are by Caucasian authors than there are by people of color authors?! That means that if you are white and write a book about an Indian girl named Aarti and her life in Chicago (and perhaps a fantastical journey to Fairyland) you are more likely than I am to get that book published. That's messed up.
"And so a small group of bloggers got together to create an event to fight this. And, as bloggers do, we decided to organize a blog tour. For one week in September (the week of the 23rd), we want ALL OF YOU fantasy/sci fi/magical realism readers (with blogs and without) to read a fantasy/sci fi/magical realism novel written by a person of color. And to write a review of that book. You know as well as I do that books succeed based on word of mouth and mentions and conversation, and this is where bloggers can help the MOST. Just read one book. And share your thoughts on that one book.
I know your TBR list is huge. I know your commitments are many. I know that there are so many things on which you must take a stand, and it can be exhausting to make reading a political activity. But this is so important to me, and I really think it should be important to you, too. None of us lives in a monochromatic world, and yet the fact that terrifying hate crimes still occur makes it clear that we do not fully understand or trust each other. And maybe part of the reason is because the media we consume does not accurately reflect the diversity of our society. And books are such a massive part of the media we consume that we should demand and fight for those that do represent minorities and those that do present the world from a different perspective than the one we are used to. So please - participate. You may just discover a character or an author or a setting or a story that will completely change your life."
So what can you do? A lot of things, in addition to boosting the signal on this excellent event, you too can read a spec fic book written by a person of color and discuss it on your blog during the week of Sept. 23.
Need recommendations? We got you covered:
Want to participate, but don't want to commit to a full-length novel? Here's a list of short fiction.
Love YA fantasy? (Who doesn't?) Here's a list just for you.
Here's a few more reading suggestions.
And a few more.
And don't forget yours truly has a little novel entitled Hollowstone.
And like Aarti, " I am so excited to see what you read and your reaction to it - have fun making a positive difference!"