The Writer's Digest Podcast, Episode 5: Children’s Literature and Diversity in Publishing — Interview with Patrice Caldwell

In this episode of the Writer’s Digest Podcast, hear from author, editor, and founder of People of Color in Publishing Patrice Caldwell, who shares an inside look at the importance of diversity in publishing today, the relevance of the mirrors and windows concept to literature, the reason people of color leave the publishing industry and how to retain them, and what you can do right now to make our industry better.
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 Patrice Caldwell | Photo Credit: Mark Oshiro

Patrice Caldwell | Photo Credit: Mark Oshiro

Welcome, welcome, writers! From fiction to nonfiction, whatever your genre persuasion or literary interest, I am so thrilled to have you here. Welcome to the fifth episode of the Writer’s Digest podcast!

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author, editor, and founder of People of Color in Publishing Patrice Caldwell on the show!

You’ve likely already noticed a slight change of pace and change of tone with this interview. This is because the topic Patrice and I will be discussing today is one that I believe is deeply important, one that merits a certain level of depth and heft brought to the conversation. Today Patrice and I will be talking about diversity in publishing.

Patrice Caldwell is the founder and Fundraising Chair of People of Color in Publishing. This is a grassroots organization created by book publishing professionals, and that helps support, empower, and uplift racially and ethnically marginalized members of the industry.

Patrice is also an Associate Editor at Disney-Hyperion, and a writer of Young Adult fiction. So when it comes to writing and publishing books for young people, Patrice knows all about that.

Now, while Patrice and I do dig into many topics within the issue of diversity in publishing, it’s impossible to cover every nuance of this complex issue in just one interview. My hope is for this episode to help spark a longer conversation, where we can continue to discuss the many ways that we can help improve our industry and literary community.

Listen in as Patrice and I engage in an honest discussion about the need and importance of diversity in publishing, so that all kids and teens can see themselves represented on the pages of the books they read.

This episode of the Writer’s Digest Podcast is brought to you by Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. For more info about the Writer’s Digest Conference this summer check out writersdigestconference.com. And don’t forget to use the coupon code mentioned in the episode to get $25 off your registration!

In this episode Patrice shares:

  • An inside look into People of Color in Publishing, what it is and how it works.
  • The mirrors and windows concept, and its importance in literature.
  • What questions we should be asking about diversity in publishing.
  • Why people of color leave the publishing industry and how to retain them.
  • What you can do right now to make our industry better.

Listen in to hear Patrice talk about all these things… and more!

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About Patrice Caldwell

Patrice Caldwell is the founder and Fundraising Chair of People of Color in Publishing—a grassroots organization created by book publishing professionals dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the industry.

She is also an Associate Editor at Disney-Hyperion, a contributor to Publishing Crawl, Bustle, and Autostraddle, as well as a writer of Young Adult fiction. Her writing is represented by Peter Knapp at Park Literary & Media.

Links and resources

Connect with Patrice and learn more about her work at www.patricecaldwell.com, and visit her on Twitter @whimsicallyours and Instagram @whimsicalaquarian.

Visit this link to learn more about People of Color in Publishing and see the exciting work they’re doing. There are also other organizations doing great work with respect to diversity in publishing and these groups include:

Need an in depth look at what it means to write a book with a purpose for children? Learn about the hurdles of writing an “own voices” middle grade novel from author and professor Dr. Eucabeth Odhiambo in her interview on DIY MFA Radio.

Want to gain an even deeper understanding of capturing diverse voices on the page? There are some DIY MFA interviews that will help. Listen to this episode featuring author Shanthi Sekaran to learn how to use fiction to humanize different groups of people and bring them to life for readers. sort through multiple voices from characters’ to your own inner critic. And for tips on how to integrate diversity into even the youngest children by reading with them, check out this interview with author and children’s literature expert Megan Dowd Lambert.

Learn more in the online boot camp, Publishing Your Children's Book: How to Write and Pitch Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Book Manuscripts.

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