If you’re a book lover then you know that there has been another incident of mass racial abuse on Twitter. That or you’ve had your head in a box – or a book maybe!
Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman gave an interview to Sky where she said that children’s books needed more diversity. It was incorrectly headlined, resulting in a mass barrage of racism towards her on Twitter.
Earlier, she had used Twitter to call for “diversity and inclusion. More books featuring kids/YA with disabilities, LGBT, people of colour, travellers, different cultures, religions pls”
I completely agree with her. We are a world of diverse countries, how can we write about the world we live in and not represent it correctly?
But how does that transfer to the authors? Is the publishing world comfortable and ready for people from all of those groups Malorie Blackman has listed, to become authors in their publishing houses? For many of those groups I’d say yes.
But what about disability? There’s a slight difference with that one. With a disabled author the publishing house has to consider if you are a long-term investment – or so I’ve been told. On multiple occasions. As I’ve been told to tone down my accounting of my life as I live with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
We are a diverse world, but I walk on eggshells as I keep writing, in an attempt to keep my slate clean and wonderful people like Malorie Blackman who are already writing wonderful stories get attacked for her views.
I’m not going to tone it down anymore. I can keep writing and be disabled. Yes my life is massively affected, more than I ever thought possible a couple of years ago. If raising awareness, or simply blogging and being honest stops someone taking me on, then that person or place wasn’t right for me anyway.
We need more diversity in our authors as well as in our characters.