Monday, November 21, 2016

Throwing down the gauntlet & getting serious

As you may have noticed, it's been a bit quiet around Guys Lit Wire.

Several of our long time posters have had to leave the site and those of us on the organizing end have been busy with our own projects and work and have not been diligent about filling those slots. We got lazy and while still doing good things (book reviews, the Book Fair for Ballou High School), we have certainly not been doing what I would call important things.

That changes now.

Like most of America, we are kind of freaked out by the current political landscape. No one seems to know what is happening next or what direction the country is taking or what that means for anyone. We are especially sensitive to the concerns of our primary readership: librarians, booksellers, parents and teens who are looking for books that will appeal to reluctant teen readers, especially guys. We think it's time to double down on our initial mission and also, now more than ever, embrace in the broadest possible terms the diversity that makes America such a wonderful place to live.

Diversity is everything in America. 

Let me say that again - diversity is everything in America. It's what matters most. It's what we love about our country and it is what we want to encourage, in ever way possible, in the literary world.

As the granddaughter & great granddaughter of immigrants, and the child of someone who primarily learned to speak English in school, I feel very strongly about this. We have not been doing our job around here on the diversity front and, I promise you, that changes now.

We will still be posting book reviews from a group of varied contributors. We will still be writing about all kinds of books and in some ways, readers will notice hardly any changes at all. We are doubling down however on diversity, in formats (more nonfiction! more poetry! more graphic novels!), in characters, in subject matter and in authors. In addition to reviewing, we are also going to do our best to share news and interviews with diverse authors who we think will appeal to teen readers. We see this as shining a light on the work of those who might be overlooked in the massive coverage of the latest "big thing". And while we certainly enjoy a best seller as much as the next person (and you might very well see a few here that we can't resist noting), we really hope that we can help make a dent in the many issues the literary world is suffering from when it comes to diversity.

More than anything, we will always keep our primary mission of getting the word out on great books but we acknowledge that part of what makes a book great is diversity

The thing that is driving us right now is doing what we can to mitigate the fear that so many American children and teens are feeling. We want to do what we can to make sure they know they are not alone. For so many of us, at one time or another, books were important lifelines. We have not forgotten that and want to make sure today's teens can find the books they need to make it through until things get better.

This is an evolving process at Guys Lit Wire - the final rollout of the slightly redesigned site will likely not take place until the end of the year. We are also going to see about partnering up with some other teen focused sites to do some cross-blogging and more.

And we will be back on Cyber Monday to reopen the Book Fair for Ballou High School and hopefully get more books to that Washington DC school library!

I guess my big message with this post was to thank you for hanging in there with us and let you know to watch this space. There are so many things we all need to be doing these days and we hope you will support us as we do what we can in our little corner of the internet.

1 comment :

Sarah Stevenson said...

It's exciting and heartening to see so many of us in the kidlit world regrouping and strengthening our commitment to diversity of stories and authors and readers. I know even the word "diversity" scares some people (and irritates others) but diversity defines who we are as Americans and as humans. E pluribus unum and all that. :)