Disrupting Publishing Linkspam: 9/15/2015

Last week I collected and curated articles about racism in publishing by writers of color. Anyone who follows my twitter probably knows that disrupting oppressive cycles in publishing is something I’m all in on. I think these linkspams will probably be a regular thing going forward, but I wanted to broaden the scope because there are multiple axes at play here. Race is a major one, and a predominant one given how visible race often is, but it’s not the only way voices can be silenced, so here I’m aggregated as many marginalized voices as possible from as many vectors as possible, and the more intersectional the better. As always if you’ve read something I missed please link it in the comments.


//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” by Jenny Zhang for Buzzfeed

White people have always slipped in and out of the experiences of people of color and been praised extravagantly for it.

Malinda Lo’s tumblr post in response to Jenny Zhang’s piece

Women who write literary/realistic fiction about women are often asked about how their fiction is autobiographical, even if it is clearly not. I don’t believe that men are asked this “is your work autobiographical?” question nearly as often. I wonder if writers of color are asked this question even more than white women, because the white majority has a hard time understanding that writers of color could imagine stories about characters of color who are not them. It’s a weird, slippery, erasing state of belief about writers of color.

“Regarding the Yellowface Poet” by Franny Choi

i confess. i am greedy. i think i deserve to be seen
for what i am: a boundless, burning wick.

a stone house. i confess: if someone has looked
at my crooked spine and called it elmwood,

i’ve accepted. if someone has loved me more
for my gook name, for my saint name,

for my good vocabulary & bad joints,
i’ve welcomed them into this house.

“On Visibility in Diversity That Isn’t Race” by Kayla Whaley

Speak Up!: A Graphic Account of Roxane Gay and Erica Jong’s Uncomfortable Conversation by Mari Naomi for Electric Literature

15

An interview with Ursula K. LeGuin by Choire Sicha

It worked very much against women, because they were likely to have the nine-to-five job and really be responsible for the household. Doing two jobs is hard enough, but doing three is just impossible. And that’s essentially what an awful lot of women who wanted to write were being asked to do: support themselves, keep the family and household going, and write.

“Encouraging Diversity: An Editor’s Perspective” by Rose Lemberg in Strange Horizons

When I founded Stone Telling, I knew I wanted the market to be diverse. I talked to both poets and editors before founding the magazine and heard from quite a few that there just weren’t that many PoC poets in the field, and that very few poets write queer content. I was planning to solicit, but heard back from a few folks that I should expect to quickly run out of PoC poets from whom I could solicit.

That did not happen. What happened was that the field grew in response to a welcoming market.

Further Reading on Racism in Publishing by People of Color

It’s so easy to get me riled up about things that both my family and my day job colleagues basically have made a game of it at this point. I could write endless blog posts about this topic. I am deeply passionate. But I am white, and it’s time to take a step back. Here are the words and voices of people of color who have better, more informed things to say than I do. If you have read other articles by people of color I’ve missed please leave links in the comments and I’ll add to this list.


No More Diversity Panels; It’s Time to Move On” by L.E.H. Light at BlackNerdProblems

These panels easily turn into bitch sessions, in which all of the audience members, basically all of the People of Color who are in attendance at the con, join the panelists in enumerating their most egregious experiences with racism in the fandom. Alternatively, and just as annoyingly, they become Diversity 101 classes, where the panelists spend an hour educating the White audience on why diversity in fandom is important and why they should try reading one book by a non-White author. This is great, the first time. After the fourth or fifth time, it is all exactly as fun as it sounds.

Lyla N. Lee’s response to Maggie Stiefvater over on Tumblr 

We need BOTH better representation of POC characters in white, established writers’ books AND newer, actually POC voices. This balance hasn’t been reached yet–which is why, I think, all this was a big outrage–but it is my hope that it will be reached soon and the children of today and tomorrow will grow up reading more diverse books that DO NOT TELL THEM THAT THEY ARE AN OTHER.

Justina Ireland:  An Unpopular Opinion about Diversity Panels

Diversity panels do not help further the cause of diversity.  They just don’t.  They are nice and I love hearing marginalized folks share their experiences.  But they suffer from an echo chamber effect that diversified panels, panels where a member happens to be from a marginalized group, do not face.  Diversity panels make conference organizers feel like they’re doing their part to further diversity, but all they really do is further ghettoize diverse authors and marginalized voices because the audience for those panels are the people who are ALREADY LISTENING.

Sherman Alexie Speaks Out on The Best American Poetry 2015

  And, of course, I know many of you poets are pissed at me. I know many of you are screaming out a simple question: “Sherman, why did you keep that poetry colonist in the anthology even after you learned of his deception?”

Listen, I was so angry that I stormed and cursed around the room. I felt like punching the wall.

And, of course, there was no doubt that I would pull that fucking poem because of that deceitful pseudonym.

But I realized that I would primarily be jettisoning the poem because of my own sense of embarrassment. I would have pulled it because I didn’t want to hear people say, “Oh, look at the big Indian writer conned by the white guy.” I would have dumped the poem because of my vanity.

“From the Editors: The Politics of ‘Blind Submissions’ Policies” by staff at Apogee Lit Journal

By reading diversely, we come to see that it is not only content that is affected by perspective and identity, but voice, perspective, tone, diction, syntax, mood, and rhythm.

Blind submissions don’t actually protect writers from the existing prejudices of editors, and they alone do not contribute to editors reading inclusively.

“Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing” by Daniel Jose Older for Buzzfeed

Diversity is not enough.

We’re right to push for diversity, we have to, but it is only step one of a long journey. Lack of racial diversity is a symptom. The underlying illness is institutional racism. It walks hand in hand with sexism, cissexism, homophobia, and classism. To go beyond this same conversation we keep having, again and again, beyond tokens and quick fixes, requires us to look the illness in the face and destroy it. This is work for white people and people of color to do, sometimes together, sometimes apart. It’s work for writers, agents, editors, artists, fans, executives, interns, directors, and publicists. It’s work for reviewers, educators, administrators. It means taking courageous, real-world steps, not just changing mission statements or submissions guidelines.

“Deborah Wiles, Debbie Reese, and Choosing a Revolution” by Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature

One reason, I think, is the lack of diversity within the major publishing houses. I think there’s a savior mentality in the big publishing houses and a tendency to view other as less-than. For some it is conscious; for others it is unconscious. All of it can–and should be–characterized as well-intentioned, but it is also unexamined and as such, reflects institutional racism.

“Diversity Panels Are the Beginning, Not the End” by Michi Trota at Uncanny Magazine

To put it bluntly, too many cons are resting on the laurels of having diversity–themed panels and treating them as the endpoint of creating programming that accurately represents fandom and geek culture, when in fact having diversity–themed panels is just the beginning. Yes, highlighting the need for better representation and pushing back against stereotypes are worthwhile discussions, but that is not all marginalized people are capable of talking about.

“Dear Publishing Industry: Fix Your Own Racism Before You Beg for Diverse Books” by Anonymous at SC Writes for #WriteInclusively

Agents are subjective, but subjectivity doesn’t just spring up. White agents, generally, will not be attracted to race issues as much as agents of color would be, because race is not a big part of the white life. White privilege is being able to live life not thinking about color. White privilege is being colorblind. When theentire publishing industry is based around the idea of ‘subjectivity,’ and when the entire publishing industry is so very white, race-related novels are left aside.

That’s why #WeNeedDiverseBooks makes me angry and why I can’t fully support it. I still love it, and the campaign has done some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in terms of anti-racism work. That’s where the mixed feelings come in: I love it, but I feel it has distracted from institutional change.

Nalo Hopkinson’s advice to anthology editors looking for diverse voices

Your list should include the non- (or not as) marginalized writers, but make sure you have 2-5 times more marginalized writers. Because of all the current and historical barriers to our participation, it’s going to take at least that many to get a representative sample of submissions.

Don’t know the names of that many marginalized writers? Ask around. Ask readers, other writers, editors, listserves, educators, Twitter, Facebook. People will be happy to clue you in. Get contact information for the writers they name. While you’re at it, ask them where you should be putting your call for submissions (if you’re doing a public one) in order to have a better chance of it being seen by writers from a diversity of communities. Because if you only publicize it in the usual places, you’ll only get – say it with me – the usual suspects.

N. K. Jemisin’s thoughts on anthology editors looking for diverse voices

Anthologies that solicit my work only because I’m a woman of color? Aren’t going to be good anthologies, don’t have good editors, and they aren’t going to help me. They could actually hurt me, in fact. And choosing to participate in anthologies like that, when I can see the problematic reasoning behind the invitations from a mile away, means acknowledging that reasoning as legitimate.

“The Limits of Diversity” by Jennifer Pan at Asian American Writer’s Workshop

The WNDB campaign has shone a spotlight on the deficit of non-majority perspectives both on the pages and behind the scenes in the book world. Yet the publishing industry remains a bleakly apt example of how increased representation does not necessarily confer material benefits. The same PW report that found the publishing industry to be mostly white also found that while women constituted a clear majority of the industry—74 percent of its workforce, to be precise—they continued to suffer a significant gender pay gap, earning only 70 percent of what their male colleagues did. And so it seems unlikely that increased racial diversity alone will be sufficient to ensure fair pay, equal treatment, or the dwindling of the economic barriers (such as unpaid internships and low entry-level salaries) that have long made careers in publishing available primarily to the educated and affluent.

“Where Things Stand” by Roxane Gay at The Rumpus

If women are underrepresented in certain echelons of publishing, writers of color are likely to face similar issues. As I considered this problem, I had no proof, though, and when it comes to confronting inequities in representation, people want proof. They won’t just take your word that the sky is falling. They need to see the sky shattered, on the ground. And even when you do have proof, people will try to discount your findings.

A Response to Colten Hibbs and Maggie Stiefvater on Writing the Other

Like Colten Hibbs, I followed the twitter explosion surrounding Maggie Stiefvater’s decision to participate in a conference panel on Writing the Other with great interest. Many of us were. That news of Steifvater’s decision broke at the same time as I followed a live-blog of a particularly inspiring diversity panel featuring Roxane Gay, Saeed Jones, and Daniel Jose Older only made the timing that much more stark for me, personally.

I know little about Mr. Hibbs. I know little about Ms. Stiefvater. I do know, however, that it takes an immense amount of work and humility to engage authentically in diversity in any institution. I say this as a person who lives at intersections of both oppression and power, as likely, both of them do. I have floated by on whiteness, and then in second, been literally smashed into the concrete by homophobia. Life is a rich tapestry. Intersectionality means that power and oppression shape our lives in intricate and complicated ways.

I used to be a researcher. When I was in academia, I studied people’s perceptions of power and privilege. I left academia for a lot of reasons–in order to parent well, in order to continue with my burgeoning love of fiction writing, in order to be able to breathe without having a panic attack–but mostly I left because the institutions I worked within were too staunchly rooted for me to make much of an impact all by my lonesome. I learned a lot, and I tried hard, and god bless those brave and fearsome folk who are doing activist research and pushing the Ivory Tower from within, but I couldn’t keep doing it. It felt too much like being the cameraman on a nature show and watching the zebra get mauled over and over and over.

Now I’m creeping into the publishing industry after being on its fringes, and I see, sadly, the same thing happening. It’s another institution largely controlled by people of privilege who (sometimes on purpose, mostly unknowingly) replicate the same reification of privilege. There are so many white writers in the Big Five houses. So many straight writers. So many cis writers. So many MFAs–and holy shit it takes, for most, an immense, staggering amount of class privilege to get an MFA. So very few writers with physical disabilities. Women are present, but still so very pushed to the side.

The publishing industry is and always has been racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist as fuck. That is true. What is not true is that marginalized people–people of color, women, people in poverty, QUILTBAG people, trans people, people with disabilities don’t have stories to tell. Or don’t crave stories written by them and for them with their whole hearts.

I have no doubt in my mind that Colten Hibbs, Maggie Stiefvater, and I all firmly believe that there is a dire need for diverse books in literature today. I think that the three of us differ on the tactics we think it takes to get there. And I think we disagree on what diversity actually looks like in practice.

I won’t put words in their mouth. They’ve already spoken for themselves anyway. So here are my responses to them.

On Maggie Stiefvater:
(quotes are from here)

I assumed I was asked to be on the panel because I’m write about magic and mental illness, and magic that sometimes is a metaphor for mental illness. As someone who is tired of seeing OCD and suicide treated flippantly in novels, I’m looking forward to talking about how I’d like to see writers who don’t have personal experience with those things tackle them respectfully without making the story an Issues story.

But I also assumed I was asked to be on the panel because I, like every writer, write about things that I don’t know firsthand. Yes, the Other can mean race. It can also mean gender. It can mean sexuality. It can also mean writing about someone in a profession that is not yours, from any economic background that is not yours, living an age you have yet to be, possessing a skill that you know nothing about, dwelling in a city or country you’ve never visited. I wrote about horses and Irish music because I knew horses and Irish music, but I remember being a reader who ripped authors a new one because they got either of those complicated elements wrong in a novel — they clearly hadn’t lived it or researched it well enough and yet they tackled it anyway.

Ok. So. The first part is fine! That is fine to write about dis/ability from the lived experience as a person with mental dis/abilities! Yes, the world needs more of that, please go forth and prosper!

But the rest is where I feel that Stiefvater is slipping from the hard and often (purposefully) invisible work that makes allyship allyship into using the platform of diversity to center her own desires as a comparatively privileged writer. Because the point of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and other such platforms currently driving things like the panel she has been invited to participate in is actually not to discuss random life experiences people just happen not to have had yet. The point is to interrogate the systemic exclusion of specific voices and experiences from mainstream literature–along axes of power and oppression. Which is why there has been such a tight focus on race/sexual orientation/gender/class. Because those are the main axes through which resources and access to resources are divided up in American society, and publishing, as an industry, mirrors that.

So “writing the Other” is not about learning about Paris even if you’ve never been to Paris. The reason Other is capitalized here is because it’s drawing on a very specific construct about appropriation and dehumanization of marginalized people by privileged people–which I am sure Stiefvater has been exposed to. She goes on to say:

But we also need to get people like me — white bestsellers — to write racially diverse novels.

Which I also disagree with. And this (along with some questionable conduct on her part I won’t even get into here) is largely what spurred the outrage on twitter. Because the thing is that no one needs a white woman to write POCs. She probably is doing a bad job at it, no matter how hard she tries, because white people (self included) are going to have an incredibly hard time capturing the lived experience of racism. Because we don’t have to deal with it.

What she should actually be doing if she’s serious about supporting the diverse books movement is…support diverse authors. She should step aside and promote the work of authors of color who can write those racially diverse novels authentically. Because, for structural reasons, she (and I) probably can’t.

That she said this and still is going to sit on the panel struck many, self included, as an example of white entitlement.This kind of white entitlement is exactly what has propped up the exclusionary gatekeeping tactics that keep so many voices of color on the outside of traditional publishing for literally centuries. And with people like Stiefvater as the apparent “face” of the diverse books movement–participating in panels about diverse books–the prospects for real and effective change in terms of dismantling those gatekeeping practices looks bleak. I see her do this, and I do not see allyship. I see someone who may mean well actually stepping on the backs of POCs (specifcally WOC) to keep her spot on top. I see someone unconsciously using ‘racially diverse’ as a new cool selling point for her books. That is oppressive. That is appropriation. That is the opposite of helpful here.

I do not see diversity work being taken seriously. That often requires people in power–in this case a prominent white author–stepping back and shutting up.

On Colten Hibbs:
(quotes are from here)

Now, one of the things that REALLY irks me about Twitter-Outrage is that people will kick and scream all damn day long, but no one follows through with steps to fix the problem. I’m not going to do that today. This isn’t just me telling those people that they’re jackasses. I’ll go the extra mile and offer a solution to the perceived problems at hand.
As for racism in the publishing industry – BUY BOOKS WITH DIVERSITY BY DIVERSE AUTHORS.
It’s really that simple.

The thing is because of the factors I mentioned above (gatekeeping, systemic racism, etc, all of which Hibbs does touch on in his post) it’s actually not that simple to buy books with diversity by diverse authors. You have to look for them. You have to hunt for them. Even when they manage, against all odds, to make it past all the gatekeepers, you still have to really hunt for them.

A case in point: Laura Lam’s Pantomime, which had a ton of buzz when it first came out, which I totally ignored. I didn’t actually even pick it up until I learned through the queer writer grapevine almost a year after it dropped that it featured and intersex and genderfluid protagonist. If that had been highlighted in the marketing around the book (say, right there in the damn blurb) then I would have snapped it up when it first dropped. Another example: the consistent whitewashing of covers. We all know we’re not supposed to judge books by them, but we all do, and that’s exactly why they get whitewashed: to presumably make the books more marketable (to white people). But in the doing, they also make it that much harder to identify diverse books as diverse.

I read explicitly with an eye for diverse content, and it’s still hard to find it. I trawl for recs. I read a ton of indie books. That’s where I find most of it. But that also brings up the issue of Big Five gatekeeping all over again.

So many people – Allies, the oppressed, those who just like to be mad about something – shine a spotlight and give some egregious headline, blogpost, book, or author 15 minutes of hate-fame. But it is so. very. rare. to see “I read _____ by _____, and it’s quality (LGBQT, PoC) fiction!” or “_____ wrote about _____, and it’s going to be so amazing, you guys!” or “This (NYT bestseller) is _______ done right! GO BUY IT NOW!”
And on the occasion that those affirmations of positive change are spoken into the twitterverse I have NEVER seen it take up a person’s entire timeline. People don’t do 20-tweet dissertations on all the things the author/book/agent/publisher did right. It’s a mention. It’s a rec in someone’s direct message inbox…it’s not enough. There’s not enough joy when we get what we want. Like spoiled brats at Christmas (or holiday of your choice) we open the next present and SCREAM for HOURS AND DAYS about how it isn’t what we wanted.
Tired. It makes me real tired.

I get where Hibbs is coming from. I do. I get tired, too. I do rep hard, though, for books I love, that do get it right. But here’s the thing: I’m allowed to have dignity. I will not beg for scraps at the table. I will not read another Tragic Queer Love Story, and I will not applaud an author/book/publisher and shower them in tweets simply for affirming that me and mine don’t maybe have to die at the end. Just doing it right is too little too late. That’s not what this is about for me. It’s about change. It’s about seismic shifts. It’s about new goddamn norms.

So, yeah, I’ll keep screaming until I’m hoarse when it’s wrong. And you can take the vaguely contented silence when it’s palatable as your kudos for treating me like a fucking person. That’s what makes me tired.

As for Ms. Stiefvater…
I have seen thousands of instances where authors have been criticized for erasing PoC from their books/worlds. It’s literally happening right now. RIGHT NOW on twitter.
So a bestselling author DOESN’T erase PoC from his/her work, and then they get dragged through the shit because they didn’t do it “right”. Or they don’t have the right because they’re not _____. When their books receive attention and praise the bitter voices in the marginalized community say “it’s not fair”, “that’s not my experience”, “they’re just doing it for ___”
YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

They can and they will have it both ways. Because marginalized people deserve to be represented well. There is a thing I have seen (I wrote about it most recently in my review of The Windup Girl) where white writers use diversity as a backdrop or an extra bit of spice. Sure POCs are in there, sure the book is diverse, but it’s shitty diversity. Surely readers of color don’t have to just settle for that? Surely readers of color can demand fair and nuanced representations of themselves? Literally one paragraph above as a queer reader I demanded a fuller and more nuanced representation of myself! I want to be both represented and represented with fullness, so why can’t people of color demand the same? Yes. They can have it both ways.

Fine – then here’s where I offer you a solution: DO IT.
All that wind, all that energy you waste whining about something that is completely outside of your control. Being nasty, negative, and destructive when you could be creating, building, refining a book that your agent can sell; a book that tens of thousands will read, and will garner the success that you know you deserve.

Hibbs here essentially takes his ball home with him. I hate it when people do this. ‘FINE. You don’t like what’s out there? MAKE YOUR OWN. FINE.’

It’s not fair to people who can’t or won’t or simply don’t want to create. Not everyone is a creator. It sidesteps completely the systemic issue of gatekeepers. As someone who has produced two published and largely unread books–which, hey! I think they’re great!–let me tell you, success isn’t just out there waiting to be plucked by your nubile and dewy young fingers. It’s a hustle. Even if you do know the passwords and the handshakes to get a Big Five deal, it’s still a hustle. And even then, no one will read your book.

But the whole point of this is that it’s not about a failure of the authors but a failure of the system to engage diverse and authentic voices from the get-go in a meaningful way. And that’s what both Hibbs and Stiefvater are refusing to acknowledge here–Stiefvater by her staunch entitlement to maintain the system as it is and Hibbs by insisting that if marginalized creators are just good enough they can break it.

Marginalized creators are already good enough. It’s the system that isn’t. It was built that way on purpose.

Snow Blindness: A Follow-Up To Nicola Griffith’s Analysis of Book Award Demographics

I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but by training I’m a statistician. I don’t live off my writing, and in my day job, I work as an analyst for a large urban school district crunching numbers. Back in grad school, I taught stats to undergrads who would really rather be anywhere else, bu I like stats. Always have. So I read Nicola Griffith’s post “Books About Women Don’t Win Big Awards: Some Data” with great interest. The first thing I thought of when I read is was I bet this replicates with other marginalized identities. I bet it’s not just gender; I bet it’s race and sexuality and class and everything else, too.

I had some time this weekend. Not much, but enough to do a little digging. I did what she did–mostly–but for race. I looked at four out of the the six prizes she looked at* for the same time span she looked at (2000-2015) and coded whether the author was White or a Person of Color. I dug up what I could on the book in question to try and figure out, if I hadn’t read it (and I hadn’t read most of them), if the protagonist(s) was White or a Person of Color**. And then I crunched some numbers. Here’s what I found:

  • Lit awards are exactly what you would guess: blindingly White, White as the purest arctic snow. Generally, over 80% of Pulitzer, Man Booker, National Book Award or NBCC prizes went to White writers.
    • Also, unsurprisingly, intersectionality matters. When you look at both race and gender, that arctic snow is full of dicks. Big, pasty dicks. Women of color and men of color made up 9% of the award winners apiece. White men were five times more likely to win an award than people of color. White women were three times more likely to win an award than people of color.
  • Griffith found that even when women writers do manage to win a prestigious award, they tend to do so when they’ve writer about men. Race in writing seems to be of a more peculiar character:
    • Writers of Color, the ones who won these awards at least, wrote exclusively about People of Color. Who knows; maybe they were bored of the absolute blinding whiteness of the narratives they see day in and day out and felt no compunction to contribute to that.
    • White writers mostly wrote about other white people, but a few broke the mold and wrote about People of Color and were awarded (probably by a panel of White people) for it.

That’s the high-level TL;DR summary, there. I’m going to roll up my sleeves now and dig into the data now. Stick around if you’d like! To start, here are the four awards I looked at:

POC=People of Color WP=White people

POC=People of Color
WP=White people

You can see that the trends are remarkably consistent across the awards. The NBCC is the only one coming close to bucking that trend–NBCC was more likely to give the award to POC authors and to books featuring POC protagonists written by White authors. The Man Booker Prize, on the other hand, was the most blindingly White of the bunch. This mirrors quite closely what Griffith found with regard to gender: Man Booker had the highest number of awards given to men who wrote about men, and NBCC gave a relatively wider spread of awards to men and women writing about men and women.

pie1

The pie chart above collapses all the awards I surveyed across the award giving body to get an aggregate sense of race trends. There are two main points of interest here: first, that over 80% of awards for the last 15 years of these four major awards have gone to White writers. 80%–FOUR FIFTHS.

The second point of interest is that the flexibility of writing gender that Griffith found–men writing women, women writing men–isn’t present to the same extent here. Some White people are writing People of Color, but People of Color are interested in writing their own narratives, not adding to the already bloated collection of White narratives. And yet, the preponderance of awards are still going to White narratives written by White people–or narratives of color written by White people.

note that the women author's pie graph is smaller. That's on purpose: men (regardless of race) won 60% of the awards in the time span looked at.

note that the women author’s pie graph is smaller. That’s on purpose: men (regardless of race) won 60% of the awards in the time span looked at.

For my final trick, I overlayed Griffith’s analysis and my own. I coded my set of data for both race and gender of both the author and the book’s protagonist to see how the two pieces of demographic data interacted (because, you know, intersectionality matters).

The graphs above split out the combination of the author’s race and gender and their book’s protagonists’s race and gender. The graph on the left shows the proportions for the men winners (60% of the dataset). The graph on the right shows the proportions for the women winners (40% of the dataset). What the above data tells me is that White men write about anything and everything and get awards for it. Mostly they write about other White men, yes, but they are the ones crossing gender and race lines most in their writing and get awarded for it.

I would have liked to do more. I wanted to add sexuality into the mix, but it was very hard to determine author’s LGBTQ status with just a cursory internet search. Only two of the winning books, Middlesex and The Line of Beauty, were book that I knew dealt with LGBTQ themes. I would expect similar patterns to emerge should that data become available, though.

*Griffith also looked at the Hugo Award and the Newberry Medal. I excluded these from my analysis due to time constraints which is a fancy way of saying ‘then I had to give my kid a bath.’

**There were some cases, like The Road, where movie adaptations of an arguably non-race-identified protagonist was cast as White, which I then used as essentially canon evidence of Whiteness.