The Origin of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction
As an African American woman, I have had to navigate the professional and provincial, religious and secular, and Black and White worlds. As a younger woman, before I knew myself and the world, I would try to fit into the mainstream and suppress my heritage. In another life, as a financial and credit analyst, I noted the disparities in financial knowledge and economic status between Whites and minorities. As a writer/editor on research contracts with federal health agencies, I noted health disparities between Whites and minorities. And as a write of genre fiction, I noted disparities in support for and attitudes toward White and minority writers and artists.
In the science fiction community, there have been racially tinged controversies. For example, on the secret forum on the website of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, racist comments were routinely posted. And Theodore Beale, also known as Vox Day, who launched a racist attack against fellow author N.K. Jemisin over her remarks at the 9th Continuum convention in Australia, was finally expelled from SFWA after years of making racist remarks. In the fantasy community, minority writers accepted the World Fantasy award with mixed feelings, as the award was a caricature bust of H.P. Lovecraft, who created the Cthulhu mythos, but who also wrote the poem, “On the Creation of Niggers.” The World Fantasy Award committee announced last year it would be retiring the Lovecraft bust and would have a new award for 2016. But I wondered why it had taken so long.
In light of these incidents, I decided to start a support group called Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction. I wanted it to be self-sustaining and mutually supportive. The membership requirements are to purchase two books or works of art from a list of diverse writers and artists. The website isn’t finished yet, but we plan to offer tips on writing, advice on how to start a writing group, information on writer contests and retreats, details on upcoming conventions and conferences, a venue to showcase works of art, and more.
Of course, I wouldn’t be able to do all this by myself. DWASF has hand-picked members of its Board of Directors who are experienced writers, editors, publishers, and web masters. Diane Williams, Gina Anderson, B. Sharise Moore, Stafford Battle, and John Edward Lawson. And they’re as excited as I am to begin this journey. I invite you to join us, by visiting DWASF.org, taking a look around, and clicking on the Become a Member button.
I look forward to seeing you on the site.
K. Ceres Wright