Introducing You to a Hashtag You Should Know: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

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photo “Unity in Diversity” by Flickr’s fady habib
photo “Unity in Diversity” by Flickr’s fady habib

Today’s diverse voice comes to us via Elizabeth Stephens, author of the novel Population. Though writing has been her unrelenting passion since the age of 10, Population is Elizabeth’s first published novel. She has a repertoire of short horror publications under her belt and has worked as a political correspondent and travel writer across the US, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. She currently lives in Johannesburg with her boyfriend and a fat cat called Zurg. Here she works as a communications consultant and author. She writes:

I wanted to write an article on diversity for Writer Unboxed because this is an issue that hasn’t received enough attention.  Writer Unboxed is a huge platform with a broad network, and an incredible place to showcase this issue and help movements like #weneeddiversebooks and the authors that support it, gain momentum.

You can learn more about Elizabeth on her website, and by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

Introducing You to a Hashtag You Should Know: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

My novel Population, is a post-apocalyptic, science fiction, violent, romantic, adventure fest that features a strong female protagonist and fits ideally into the #weneeddiversebooks movement.  Like other online movements, #weneeddiversebooks is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in literature.  

But why is it important and why is it so crucial that my book fits into it?

I’m currently at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference seated in a stiff-backed chair in Emerald Ballroom D.  The everything-but-emerald room is half-full and most of the occupants are women.  Similarly, the panel at the front is compiled of industry professionals, three-fourths of which are female.  All good signs, and show that the space has opened up in recent years for women.

What I don’t see however, are people of color.  In fact, there are only three of us in the room.  But why does this matter?

Frankly, my answer is simple: consciousness.  Consciousness and inclusion.  There’s no reason that more voices can’t be brought into the conversation; on the contrary, they absolutely should.

Movements like #indiebooksbeseen and #weneeddiversebooks are committed to the ideal that embracing traditionally underrepresented voices in commercial literature will lead to greater acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality — particularly among children’s genres.  This will empower a wide range of readers in the process, beginning at a young age, and curb the stigmas associated with being the “other.” (more…)

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Flash Fiction Contest Round 8

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"Gideon" -- Photo by Brin Jackson

Thank you to everyone who participated in round 7 of the WU Flash Fiction Contest. I loved so many of your stories. Rainbows clearly bring out the best ideas. It was a pleasure reading through them all, and a seriously difficult task judging them. We’ll get to the winner in a moment. But, first, the August contest […]

The Power of Fiction

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World in your Hands

Good fiction changes the world. Submarine inventor Simon Lake was directly inspired by the work of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Martin Cooper, the director of research at Motorola, created the first mobile phone based on the Star Trek communicator. Even the TASER was invented by a fiction fan – Jack Cover […]

Advice for Authors from a Bookseller’s Perspective

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books_by_irinadb24-d3c7eam

I’m going to wear a different hat today than I usually do. (You can’t see me, but I’m taking off my writer’s hat—the one with the red-pencil holder and the built-in chocolate and coffee dispensers—and putting on another hat right now.) I’ve just completed a two-year stint as a part-time bookseller at a lovely independent […]

Living in the White Space

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Photo by Jinx!

As writers, we tend to focus so much on the words we sometimes forget it’s the white space on the page that makes them visible.   Without that expanse, the words would disappear.  It’s the same thing with life — struggling to write, to get published, can become our only focus, but it’s the experience […]

The Heartfelt, Unpublishable, Captivating, Shallow, Sound, Abandoned, Reclaimed, Worthless, Most Excellent Potential Novel

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Image courtesy of jeltovski via morguefile.com

Eight years ago I sat down to write a novel, because my knees are lousy, so I couldn’t do it standing. The book’s setting is San Francisco, and its inciting incident is the earthquake of 1989, which flings together—in often unseemly ways—three characters who otherwise would have remained on the periphery of each others’ lives. […]

The Elephant in My Living Room

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Flickr Creative Commons: David Blackwell

Therese here to introduce our newest regular contributor, Kim Bullock. If you’re a part of WU’s Facebook community, you’ll certainly be no stranger to Kim, who has long been a part of the Mod Squad there. Kim has also become a valued right hand for me here at Writer Unboxed, and as one of WU’s […]

WU’s Diverse Voices Series: Import Foreign Cultures Into Your Fiction

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BeFunkyPhotogv

Today’s guest is Gabriel Valjan, author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing; (Turning To Stone, Book 4 of the Roma Series, was released just last month). Gabriel says that in his travels, he came to appreciate and enjoy Italy’s diversity, and the Roma Series presents an authentic representation of contemporary Italy. He writes: Writers transmit perceptions, […]

Surviving the Space Between: A Writer’s Journey

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Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Lately I’ve noticed many writer friends and acquaintances are blue.  Is there just something in the water, or can we chalk it up to a difficult industry? There have been a lot of shake-ups in publishing, whether it be lower book sales in a flooded market, lack of publisher support, or the other major storm […]

Confessions of a Beachcombing Writer

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photo by Rich MacDowell

I suppose my first confession resides right there in the title of this essay: I’m a beachcomber. No, I’m not one of those old guys you see at public beaches with a metal detector, a leathery tan, and high-waist trunks, searching for coins and lost jewelry. And even though I do my beachcombing most days […]

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