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Dhonielle Clayton: The Art of Inclusion

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In a response to a reader’s letter, YA author Malinda Lo once wrote, ‘Diversity is not important. Diversity is reality. Human beings are not all the same.’ If books function as tools of empathy, what happens when we never see ourselves in them, let alone at the centre of a story? How can we support and encourage real representation in our literature, especially for younger readers?

Dhonielle Clayton is a bestselling author of YA fiction, including The Belles and The Everlasting Rose. She’s a former teacher and librarian. And she’s the COO of We Need Diverse Books, the US-based campaign for a more inclusive and representative literary milieu. The movement began as a hashtag, went viral, then formalised into a non-profit in order to methodically press for progress.

Clayton joins host Melissa Keil to talk about her writing, as well as the importance of Own Voices stories, and some of the problems with traditional publishing models. She’ll highlight ways these models can shift while still retaining the crucial ability to connect with readers, and consider how we can create a more equitable and exciting literary culture.

Readings will be our bookseller for this event.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Featuring

Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle is an author, a former librarian, COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, and co-founder of Cake Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent – and decidedly diverse – literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction readers. The dazzling... Read more

Melissa Keil

Melissa Keil is a writer and children’s book editor. She is the author of three YA novels: Life in Outer Space, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl and The Secret Science of Magic. Her short story, Sundays, is featured in Begin, End, Begin, the #LoveOzYA anthology. She is also the autho... Read more

Location

The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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