News & Notes – 6/01/2019

June 1, 2019 News & Notes 6

News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff


Book News


Literary Losses

Judith Kerr, bestselling children’s author and illustrator, died May 22, 2019, less than month before her 96th birthday. Kerr’s first book was one of her most popular for young children, The Tiger Who Came to Tea. It was followed by Mog the Forgetful Cat and a slew of other Mog books, perhaps better known in Britain than in the United States. She also wrote When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (1971) and two sequels for older children. The story of a young Jewish refugee whose family flees Germany in 1933 as Hitler comes to power was based in part on Kerr’s own life; like young Anna, Kerr’s life was disrupted when her family left Germany in 1933.  When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit became a staple in classrooms from the U.S. to Britain and Germany, and won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children’s Literature Award) in 1974. Kerr was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2012, and in May of this year, she was nominated as illustrator of the year for the British Book Awards. Her final book, The Curse of the School Rabbit, will be published in late June.

Obituaries & tributes: The GuardianLA Times

Bibliography & Biography:  Goodreads; Wikipedia


Worth Reading/Viewing

  • The Radical Bookseller: Toward a Green New Deal in Publishing “Lucy Kogler Has a Modest Proposal” for making publishing, and books, more environmentally sustainable. (Literary Hub) Did you know, for instance, that most of the giant publishers (and probably many smaller ones) buy their paper from a Canadian company currently eating its way through Canada’s northern boreal forest?
  • John Boyne hits back at critics of transgender novel (The Guardian) Boyne is getting a lot of flak for his new novel, My Brother’s Name is Jessica, told from the perspective of an 11-year-old boy whose sibling is transitioning. The criticism comes in relation to #OwnVoices, and brings up one of the paradoxes of the movement: We absolutely do want and need more books by POC, LGBTQIA, and religious/ethnic minority writers, but should that mean that no one else is allowed to write about characters from those communities?
  • On the Existential Fear of Losing Your Online Persona. “What Happens When Your Digital Diary Self-Destructs?” asks Alex Sujong Laughlin, who lost 12 years of her diaries and writing when MySpace experienced a “fluke” in server migration last month. Yikes. Excuse me; I need to go download 10 years of my blog.


For Writers & Bloggers


Book & Movie Announcements & Other Stuff


Awesome Lists


Bookish Quote


That’s it for this week!

6 Responses to “News & Notes – 6/01/2019”

  1. Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits

    Huh, I’m not all that worried about backing up my regular blog. Maybe my book reviews, but that’s about it.

    I’ve been wondering when the #ownvoices thing would backfire. Yes, we want #ownvoices stories. But there is no reason why other authors can’t write stories from POVs that aren’t theirs. If they treat the characters and subjects respectfully, I feel there should be no backlash. I mean, would it be preferable to have most books consist of ONLY straight/cis folks because they’re too scared to write even secondary gay/bi/trans/etc characters? Or too scared to write Asian/Latinx/etc characters, so everyone is white? Argh. So dumb.
    Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits recently posted…Books You Want To Have Read TagMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I agree entirely re the unintended consequences of the #ownvoices movement. The goal, and it’s one I wholeheartedly support, is to open publishing markets to voices that have been largely kept out (in effect, silenced) for too long—to give them space to tell their stories. And there is a legitimate concern that publishers will choose—perhaps unconsciously, perhaps not—to publish books about diverse characters by authors who are for the most part white-European-ancestry and cis-het (and often male), thus appearing to answer the call for more diversity without actually diversifying their author lists.

      But there are dangers to the #ownvoices movement, as you and this article point out (and as I’ve mentioned occasionally here before.) One is exactly what you say: that authors will be afraid to write characters outside their own background and experience for fear of being attacked either for not being #ownvoices or for getting it wrong, or both. And the other drawback was pointed out in an article I linked a few weeks ago, I think (I don’t have time to track it down): some authors may not want to be identified as #ownvoices, and they shouldn’t be forced or pressured to do so. Obviously, those whose diversity is visible don’t have a choice, unless they avoid all photos and public appearances. But for others, it may be uncomfortable to acknowledge their #ownvoice so publicly. Some LGBTQIA authors, for instance, may prefer not to state their identity, particularly if they are not out to everyone in their circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. Similarly, authors with less visible disabilities such as autism, or with mental illness, may not want that information to be made public.