The Savage Fortress is on its way. That's what we're calling it in the US. Publication is 1st October so a few things have started coming up and there's some other stuff I want to talk to you about first.
I've mentioned this on Facebook but decided it should come up here too. There's a book that's been stirring up some trouble on racism recently. It's sci-fi and about 'pearls' and 'coals'. Now I've not read the book but this isn't really about that. What I find odd is how we're using all this time and effort complaining (and lets not forget, raising this book's profile) for all the wrong reasons.
The BEST way to combat racism/mono-culturalism in children's/YA fiction is to support those authors doing something about it. Do not waste your time and effort saying this book is bad and evil and is destroying the rainforests, you're just adding more fuel to the fire without actually achieving anything. It's easy to complain, then do nothing.
There are some utterly awesome writers out there bringing light to different viewpoints and worlds and I don't mean Westeros. You've Cindy Pon, Irfan Master, Dia Reeves, Wendy Meddour, Jasmine Richards, Candy Gourlay, Mike Jung and so many more. Go get one of their books!
We live in a world of business where virtue is second to success. Sometimes good things fail and this is especially true of 'ethnic' writing within children's/YA books. There's been recent lists of 'Best of' and it was nearly all Caucasian in viewpoint and literary talent. This year's Edinburgh Lit Fest for children had (as far as I could work out) almost no ethnic writers. So, what happens? Those writers don't get the profile, don't get the support thier books stop getting published and it becomes a 'truth' that 'ethnic' doesn't sell. I'm really sorry to be up on my soapbox about this and of course there are amazing exceptions but look at the vast diversity in the entertainment businesses of music, film, dance, TV, almost anything else then compare it to the lack of divesity in 'young' fiction. Something needs fixing.
Now, fighting the good fight are the librarians and teachers of Texas! I'm insanely pleased to announce that 'The Savage Fortress' has been nominated on the Texas Lone Star Reading List for 2013. Huzzah! It's the longlist and I'm up against the great and the good but that's cool, it's very nice to be sharing space with the likes of Michael Morpurgo. Jolly nice.
Also, are any of you up at the Birmingham Eid Mela on Sun 2nd September? I'll bethere talking about books and superheroes and such. Come say hello and we'll go grab a samosa!