I’m trying to go to Los Angeles at some point this year. I want to visit friends and, y’know, play tourist for once. I’d initially thought about going for my birthday but that may prove to be prohibitive, so I thought about going for the Writer’s Digest Conference, which is being held October 19-21, 2012.
And why shouldn’t I? It would give me the chance to meet writers, agents, publishers, and sundry others in the literary scene. Plus, I’m sure it would be a total gas. But when I looked at the list of speakers at this year’s conference, I noticed that none of them were Black.
Are there no people of color who could be considered experts on any of the given subjects being talked about at the conference? No one with expertise in editing? Suggestions concerning self-publishing? Insight on how to establish and maintain a successful career? Perhaps this is just an off year. I’m positive they’ve had Black speakers before … right?
So this kind of gives me pause. I mean, I’m sure the omission of a Black speaker was not intentional. And it’s not like I’d be going to the conference for some Afrocentric or culturally specific take on the publishing industry. Yet I can’t help but have a nagging feeling that people of color will be very much underrepresented at the Writer’s Digest Conference.
What do you think? Am I looking too much into this issue? Or do you agree that there should be a bit more diversity at this and similar gatherings where creatives come together? LMK your thoughts in the comments below!