Martine Powers talks with N.K. Jemisin, Jasmine Guillory and Lauren Wilkinson about challenging narrow perceptions of race in literary genres. And Marian Liu on the segregation of American music awards.
The book publishing industry still has a long way to go
“Publishing is still a business that is owned by white men,” romance writer Jasmine Guillory says. “And you know the people at the top are all white men.” She’s not alone in her sentiment. Lauren Wilkinson debuted her novel “American Spy” with a black woman as the protagonist. Wilkinson grew up reading John le Carré and James Bond novels. She says she always noticed a similarity between all of the spy novels she’d read as a kid.
“They looked very very white and male,” Wilkinson says. So she decided to do something about it by writing Marie Mitchell as the main character of “American Spy.”
“I mean, for me this is a spy book, but it’s secretly just an opportunity to talk about a black woman’s feelings for 300 pages,” Wilkinson says.
Science fiction also faces the problem of inequality in the publishing industry. That’s why N.K. Jemisin chose to put black experiences of oppression in a distant, imagined future. She says, “In a lot of science-fiction stories, you know, the way that they choose to engage with [oppression] is by having aliens be oppressed.” Instead, Jemisin chooses to show how the black experience fares in the future with the “Broken Earth” series.
These women tell Powers about why the industry remains so homogenous and what challenges remain.
Original Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/post-reports/publishing-is-still-a-business-that-is-owned-by-white-men-three-women-on-race-and-genre/