Monday, June 30, 2014 |
Finding creative ways to pitch diverse books is critical in order to overcome the retailers' initial bias against the books. #DiverseCanLit-- Léonicka (@leonicka) June 26, 2014
Léonicka Valcius wants to get Canada talking about diversity in Canadian literature. She's been hosting Twitter chats under the hashtag #DiverseCanLit about a range of topics in the Canadian literature world. She stopped by CBC Radio's Here and Now recently to discuss the project:
"What I wanted to do was have a platform and have a space to have an ongoing conversation about diversity and equity in the Canadian publishing industry and in Canadian literature as a whole," Valcius told Here and Now guest host Karen Gordon.
Valcius realized this void when she enrolled in publishing school, with plans to pursue a career in the book industry about three years. "I was one of the few people of colour in my class." It was a trend that she continued to notice as she went to book launches and conferences. "The industry as a whole is pretty homogenous and since we are in the business of promoting and sharing stories, that's a really problematic issue."
Valcius also tracks the representation of diverse voices for prominent Canadian awards on her website leonicka.com. "We have to look at the statistics and ask what we can do more."
The #DiverseCanLit chats began in January. Each week, the chats cover a specific industry-related topic like sales, poetry and even CBC's own Canada Reads. "We have to dig deeper when talking about diversity in Canada and diversity in the Canadian publishing industry. It's more than just the books on the shelves."