The purpose of any MFA program is to grow writers. And Hamline’s MFAC program grows writers for children. More and more the children we are writing for come from diverse backgrounds. More and more they are from non-traditional, same-sex, or single parented families. It is vital that these children – whatever their race, orientation, gender identity, class, ability, or faith –see themselves in books, as heroes of their own stories, see that they are not alone. They need to find themselves in the words and characters and pages, and they need to feel, in the words of Julie Schumacher, “recognized and therefore relieved.” And we cannot do that, unless we create a safe space for writers of color and diverse voices. Read more here.
The long con of white mediocrity may never be exposed because there are too many people invested in making sure not a single instance of white excellence is overlooked but quickly drop the vigilance when it comes to the excellence of those of us who were never afforded such protection. But for those of us who didn’t grow up entitled, those of us who grew up underestimated, underinvited, undersolicited, underacknowledged, underloved, I say let’s expose each other’s excellence. Read more here.
As a diverse YA author I am often asked, usually by teens searching in vain for their own reflection in the novels they read, whether I think things will ever change. I do, mostly because I believe there is a limit to how long literature can peddle the fantasy of a non-diverse world to readers who are living in a diverse reality. Read more here.