In literary organizations, disputes over diversity continue to arise

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the American Booksellers Association, two other industry groups, have also co...


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the American Booksellers Association, two other industry groups, have also come under criticism this summer.

In June, the society’s head of equity and inclusion issued a statement condemning anti-Semitism in response to an increase in hate crimes, but did not issue a statement condemning Islamophobia. She quit in the backlash that followed and apologized. She said later News week that she was harassed online and received death threats. The company declined to comment for this article.

The American Booksellers Association apologized this month for two recent incidents. In the first, a staff member replacing someone on vacation put together a bestseller list and included the cover image from the book “Blackout”, by right-wing media personality Candace Owens, in place of a YA novel of the same title co-written by six popular authors. In the second case, the association included “Irreversible damage: the infatuation with transgender people who seduce our daughters” in a box of books that it mailed to members. Publishers pay the association to include certain books, and its policy is not to edit them so that they do not decide which titles members have access to.

In a letter to its members, Allison Hill, the association’s executive director, said the organization will revise its policy on mailing to PO boxes, create a new position of head of diversity, equity, inclusion and of access, and would donate to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, among other measures.

Last summer, the president and chairman of the board of directors of the The Poetry Foundation has resigned after an open letter signed by more than 1,800 people criticized the foundation’s statement on the Black Lives Matter movement as being too weak. Around the same time, several members of the National Book Critics Circle board resigned after one board member accused another of making racist comments while the board was discussing what he was doing. had to be said in a statement supporting anti-racism.

The two organizations said they have since made a number of changes aimed at making groups more inclusive and raising more diverse writers, in addition to appointing new leaders.

Criticisms of these groups have typically taken place on social media, especially Twitter, where complaints that might have been more easily ignored or dealt with quietly in the past can quickly gain momentum.



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Newsrust - US Top News: In literary organizations, disputes over diversity continue to arise
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