Saturday, April 02, 2011

Here We Go Again

Jessica Verday reports that she was asked to change her M/M story to M/F for inclusion in the Running Press/Constable&Robinson anthology  Wicked Pretty Things. This choice is apparently down to editor Trisha Telep.

Oopsie.

No, actually deciding to exclude gay stories or demand they be changed to het to be included  isn't just an oopsie. So I think the decision of Stacia Kane, Andrew Smith, Seanan McGuire and many others to withdraw their submissions from this and other anthologies is entirely appropriate.

I also hope that Running Press takes a firmer position in favor of diversity and that these anthologies eventually do get created with diverse stories in them in their original form. But Running Press and Telep need to put out a bit more in the way of prominent and assertive messaging to make that happen, before this whole thing snowballs.

Telep's response (which current exists only as a comment) should be acknowledged as a first step in making that happen: "I sincerely regret the sequence of events which has led to Jessica Verday’s story ‘Flesh Which Is Not Flesh’ being excluded from the forthcoming anthology Wicked Pretty Things. This has been the result of a misunderstanding on my part which is entirely regrettable. Along with publishers Constable & Robinson Ltd, who commissioned the anthology, and Running Press, who are due to co-publish the book in the United States, I fully support LGBTQ issues. I apologise wholeheartedly for any offence that I have caused and offer the assurance that I would not in future reject any story on the grounds that it included a gay (or any LGBTQ) relationship."

However, the publisher responses seem rather ... equivocal. 

Running Press continues to kind of miss the point by blaming the author and the social media and remaining silent on the role played by their appointed editor. Generally these things only work if you start with a more convincing mea culpa rather than skipping with distinct haste to the you-a culpa.


Here is a good summary post.


April 6 update: Running Press is still digging that hole deeper with back-channel communications.


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