Diversity in young adult lit is getting a lot of attention lately, and I’m happy to see it. The typical English literature canon author is an old, white guy, and things haven’t changed that much. Yeah, you might see a white woman or a black guy taught in a literature class here and there, but it’s not all that common. In YA lit, it’s slightly different–it’s fairly common for writers of YA to be white women…youngish. And characters reflect that demographic pretty heavily.
DiversifYA has been encouraging writers to bring diversity into their writing by, in part, exploring the diversity of those who write. I’m probably not an obvious choice to consider a diverse person. I mean, I’m just your typical white girl in a lot of ways. But being an atheist means I’m very much in the minority, and so they interviewed me about that. Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve heard that if you study one religion, you’re hooked for life; if you study two, you won’t be religious for long. I read The Bible, The Koran, and several other religious texts when I was in high school. I caused quite a ruckus when I carted around The Satanic Bible for a few weeks. You can imagine the kind of stuff that was said about me after that—it was a small school in a tiny, rural town, and you might know how small towns can be. I followed it up by appearing in class with The Modern Witch’s Spellbook. Oh boy. Just like the saying goes about studying religions, I settled on atheism about that time. And reading a lot of science and history really cemented it for me.
If you’ve ever been curious about atheism or how I feel about writing diverse characters, do check out the interview.