The same day ReedPOP, the company behind BookCon, added more diverse authors to their line up, they announced a panel called “The World Agrees: #WeNeedDiverseBooks,” based on the popular hashtag that trended around the world. ReedPOP has suffered under the backlash of public indignation at the lack of diversity in their original lineup, yet, like the Canadian Women’s Hockey team in the gold medal Olympic game, they came back with this spectacular PR move, acknowledging the hashtag which has inspired pictures and words from all over as readers convey why diversity is important in literature. An extra special feature? The panelists include several voices of the movement, like Ellen Oh (Prophecy). You can see the panel description here:
The panel will kick off with five #WNDB representatives, four of whom are YA authors – Ellen Oh (the Prophecy series), Aisha Saeed (Written in the Stars, 2015), Marieke Nijkamp (DiversifYA founder), Lamar Giles (Fake ID), and Mike Jung (Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities) – discussing the highlights of the campaign, as well as strategies for effective grassroots activism, and how readers can diversify their own bookshelves. The discussion will then shift to the three featured authors speaking on how, in Woodson’s words, “the work of African-Americans and people of color is important and necessary and relevant and timely and timeless.” While declining to provide specifics, #WNDB spokesperson Oh promises that the #WNDB campaign will “have some really exciting news to share” about the group’s future activities that will be disclosed during the session. ReedPOP is also providing a table for the #WNDB team members at the show to publicize the campaign and its message to BookCon attendees.
If you’re in New York City on May 31st, check out the panel at 10:00am in Room 1E02 during BookCon. If you want to be updated on the BookCon diversity issue, check out our previous articles. The hashtag has given birth to a Tumblr blog of the same name where they receive submissions from people as to why they think they need diverse books so check that out and maybe even submit something yourself.
Why do YOU think we need diverse books?