The Forum for Women’s Empowerment (FEW) believes that LGBTQ characters and themes are often underrepresented in mainstream publishing and wants to give queer writers the opportunity to showcase their published work and help those who struggle to publish their manuscripts.
JOHANNESBURG – “Queer book fairs allow queer authors to find the stories that speak to them. They build community as we come together safely in a shared love of reading and help provide support in queer literature” , said FEW Programs Coordinator Jade Madingwane.
The Forum for Women’s Empowerment (FEW) will host its Queer Book Fair on May 14 at Constitution Hill.
FEW is a black lesbian feminist organization that engages in advocacy, education and action to ensure that black lesbians enjoy freedom, well-being, dignity and holistic bodily autonomy in all aspects of their lives.
The organization believes that LGBTQ characters and themes are often underrepresented in mainstream publishing and wants to give queer writers the opportunity to showcase their published work and help those who struggle to get their manuscripts published.
“We organized the same activity in 2018. We believe that queer literature is essential because representation is important. In mainstream literature, we only see gendered literature that does not talk about queer lives or literature” , Madingwane said.
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According to Hachette Book Group, LGBTQ characters and themes are often underrepresented in mainstream publishing due to censorship and arguments that LGBTQ content is “niche”, and therefore not commercially viable.
The group argues that books about LGBTQ characters and history can have a profound effect on readers, and LGBTQ visibility in the media has a valuable place in the world of representation. Not only can these stories educate and inform readers who do not identify as part of the LGBTQ community, but they can also describe a path in life that LGBTQ readers might not have thought possible.
“We want to have a conversation and readings of books or manuscripts. The reason behind that is to have more queer literature among queer people,” Madingwane said.
Throughout history, literature on LGBTQ themes has encountered challenges and objections and in some countries queer people are still persecuted and even killed for being part of the LGBTQ community.
Queer representation has come a long way since the days when the only queer representation allowed in literature had to be negative.
“We are also looking for editors to answer questions from queer authors, but also recommendations that editors or publishers can give to these queer authors,” Madingwane said of their hopes and plans for the upcoming Book Fair. queer.
FEW said it plans to hold roundtables with published authors, as well as book circles.
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