Feel the thunderous reverberations of authors and industry pros working to
broaden our perspectives—as writers and readers alike. Plus, learn how
underrepresented voices are rising in the writing world.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
One night in early January, my wife and I were watching Oprah Winfrey accept the Cecil B. deMille Award at the 75th Golden Globes. This quote captured perfectly the essence of the evening, filled with influential stars using their platform to highlight the “Time’s Up” and #MeToo movements. As we watched and admired the individuals taking the opportunity to speak their truths and to amplify the truths of others, it struck me that as writers, we have a similarly unique opportunity—a responsibility, even—to voice our own truth and to help others do the same. The stories we choose to tell are the stories that define us, capture the sentiment of our time, reflect our experiences and ultimately evoke change.
Last fall, as heinous revelations began to seep out of the dank recesses of every industry, news broke that a well-known writer we’d slated for a WD Interview had been accused of sexual misconduct. We canceled the interview, but simply replacing this author with another seemed, quite frankly, wrong. Instead, we approached WD Editor-at-Large Jessica Strawser, whose new novel deals with issues of domestic violence, about using the WD Interview’s normally reserved space to make a more powerful statement. Our goal: To turn the volume up on underrepresented voices—voices that have historically been stifled.
The result is “ROAR,” a showcase of talented authors from traditionally marginalized communities making waves in writing, as well as editors and agents who are quite literally changing the face of publishing. Individuals like Kellye Garrett, whose cozy mysteries that feature a black female protagonist are earning rave reviews in a genre notoriously scarce in diversity; Mindy McGinnis, whose book The Female of the Species confronts rape culture in an unblinking fashion; and Empire Literary’s Penny Moore, founder of the online database Literary Agents of Color. Find un-truncated interviews with all of our subjects in this complement to the feature that appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of Writer’s Digest.
This is not a new mission, but the reaffirmation of a long-standing one: Just last October, former WD Editor-in-Chief Kirk Polking passed away at age 91. “Kirk” was, in fact, a woman—she adopted a pseudonym beginning in the 1940s to avoid unjust scrutiny reserved for females in positions of power. Dorothy “Kirk” Polking was a legend, and we seek to carry on her legacy.
The May/June 2018 edition of Writer’s Digest serves as just that—a vocal “roar” of support for underrepresented voices formerly shunned by industry gatekeepers that are finally getting their due; an elegy for the smothered stories from decades past that we never got to read; and a re-avowal that WD will continue to champion those difference-makers like the ones featured in these pages.
Editor-in-Chief, Writer’s Digest