We had a full house at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore last night! Thanks to everyone who made the event a success—our host, Victoria; our moderator, Annemarie; my fellow panelists, Neesha and Vivek, and all the folks in the audience who came with smart questions and observations (that’s Vivek Shraya and Nayani Thiyagarajah in the photo). I hope we were able to provide some insight into self-publishing, though things are changing so quickly. It was heartening to see so many people who are ready to take the plunge and put their work out there into the world…yet it was frustrating to meet a beautiful young black writer who hasn’t really got any role models in Canada. She adores Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (so do I!) but she deserves a role model from her generation who’s writing and publishing in her own country. How do you know what’s possible for your life if you can’t see someone else doing it already? I need to sit down and write out my thoughts on equity versus diversity. I asked my cousin to explain the distinction to a hypothetical undergrad and she said something like this:
Diversity is when you invite many different kinds of people to sit at your table. You look for difference in terms of age, race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, ethnicity, etc. But equity means addressing the fact that some people come to the table without a fork, some have two plates or none at all, some expect to be waited on, and some are more accustomed to doing the serving. Equity attempts to ensure that everyone can sit down to eat together on terms of equality.
So what would equity in publishing look like? Maybe I’ll try to get some writing done this morning. I forgot the cable for my camera so I can’t upload any photos, but do check out the Facing Out live stream site if you want to watch last night’s conversation. Or maybe I can actually figure out how to embed it here. Or not! But it’s available on Vimeo, and at the FacingOut blog.