Over the past five years, our small corner of the bookternet has grown beyond anything we could have imagined. What started with Rachel and 5-10 friends on Twitter is now a sprawling, international, almost 2,000-reader strong biannual event.
I know, right?!
We love all of you, and we’re amazed and proud of how far we’ve come.
With that pride comes realization of the importance of our platform and the responsibility associated with it.
As the ‘thon has expanded internationally, it’s drawn our thon-specific attention and brainspace to the issue of representation and access, including everything from the books we post on social media to the ratio of U.S./Canada prizes to international ones.
The three of us are each dedicated to ensuring representation in our personal reading lives, and while that has naturally carried over into elements of the readathon, we’ve realized that we’re leaving a lot of intentionality on the table.
That’s why, this year, we’re making some changes both publicly and behind the scenes at #24in48.
Publishing is a notoriously white, privileged space filled with gatekeepers who don’t necessarily represent their readership, and we are not OK with carrying on that status quo when our #24in48 community has created this platform allowing us to not only be vocal about the necessity of industry change, but—hopefully—have a measurable impact.
Part of this effort means calling attention to what we’re doing, so we can be accountable for our actions—both when we hit and miss the mark.
We won’t get it right every time, but we’re sure as hell going to try.
What do these changes look like?
More representative book stacks. Actively seeking out titles to recommend that not only include/ represent/promote authors of color, but also LGBTQIA+, disabilities, neurodiversity, geographic diversity, and more. Including descriptions of our images on social media to facilitate accessibility. Encouraging publishers and supporters to consider these intentions when selecting and donating prizes.
We’ll have a few more surveys for you to fill out this year, including an anonymous survey to help us determine the regional distribution of our readership and a book log to show not only how many books are read over the weekend but also the diversity/inclusion statistics of those books.
There’s more to come, and we have more to learn.
Thank you for journeying with us this far; we hope we won’t let you down.
Rachel, Kristen, & Kerry
12 thoughts on “24in48 With Intention: Focusing on Diversity”
You, guys, are amazing!
Here for it. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!
I’m even more excited now!
Diversity and inclusion. So important to shout this from the rooftops right now. Thank you!
Excellent. I’m trying to both read the world and make sure 50% of my reading is authors of color and in translation. That shouldn’t be hard, but it means staying vigilant about not adding just all the “hot books” from every list to my TBR. I’ve learned a lot of current authors in other countries though, and it’s been so interesting and such good reading, so I’m loving my little effort and can always use a kick in the pants.
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That’s fantastic! We love adding books in translation to your readathon plans and reading with intention should be a goal for everyone and not just during the ‘thon.
I have a lot of respect for you guys to openly go this was, and it makes me even more excited to participate in the readathon again!
Love it! July is Black History Month here in Australia and I have a delightful stack of Aboriginal authors I’m hoping to read that weekend.
Thanks for your commitment to diversity! Have you considered a partnership with a group like Well Read Black Girl, so you can add multiple perspectives? (I’m guessing you have, since you’re writing this blog post, but still wanted to offer a suggestion!)
We actually haven’t – partnering with outside groups isn’t something we want to take on because it makes the organizing more tricky – but we also don’t want to ask people of color to do the work for us. We believe that, as white cis women, we have a responsibility to lift up voices that are not like our own and pushing the responsibility onto someone else isn’t doing the work. We are all learning, but it’s not a POCs job to teach.
I have a few diverse books that I have been meaning to get to… That I’ve bought through Kindle deals. Thanks for the reminder.