MALINDA LO

MALINDA LO

I am the author of several YA novels including the duology Adaptation and Inheritance (out now!). I'm also co-founder with Cindy Pon of Diversity in YA.
I found empirical support for the idea that the Harry Potter series influenced the political values and perspectives of the generation that came of age with these books. Reading the books correlated with greater levels of acceptance for out-groups, higher political tolerance, less predisposition to authoritarianism, greater support for equality, and greater opposition to the use of violence and torture. As Harry Potter fans will have noted, these are major themes repeated throughout the series. These correlations remained significant even when applying more sophisticated statistical analyses – when controlling for, among other things, parental influence.
-

"Harry Potter did help shape the political culture of a generation" by Anthony Gierzynski (The Conversation)

Totally fascinating research into how reading shapes political beliefs.

I don’t watch OUAT anymore but seeing these photos makes me suddenly understand why Swan Queen is a thing. And if they looked like this in the show I’d probably watch it again!

Also: women in suits. Happy Friday!

marshmallow-the-vampire-slayer:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - First and Last lines

- requested by Anon

emayaosi asked:
It's really disappointing to see you co-sign that Holly Black post as if the majority of YA authors don't write about very whitewashed worlds where queer/trans/poc people may as well not exist. Telling people to change that reality with their purchasing power is a tad hypocritical when you all write a certain way because you know that's what sells. I'd be more sympathetic to your point if you weren't directly contributing to the problem.

MALINDA LO

The point of Holly’s post is that buying works by PoC/LGBTQ/trans writers will literally change the landscape of what’s out there and what’s a bestseller and what’s mainstream. I do sign on to that.

As for the need for more diversity in all books being written, yes to that too. Though, I wish you wouldn’t say I am doing something because “you know that’s what sells.” People think writers do EVERYTHING because “that’s what sells.” People are always reading our minds/explaining our motives—people from every standpoint. Most book banners use the “you do this because this is what sells” in order to denigrate work. My goal for myself is to try harder and do better and make good stories.

But the point remains that diverse writers of diverse books are out there, and by buying their books, the playing field changes. It sounds like maybe you aren’t aware of all these writers. That’s a problem. But it’s something that so many good people are working on now, to bring these writers up to the front of the store/the reading list.


I’m not sure where emayosi is getting that meaning from Holly’s response, because it seemed to me that Holly was encouraging folks to seek out books by authors of color, queer authors, etc., rather than sticking to what “the majority of YA authors” are writing.

I will certainly grant that yes, it’s true that “the majority of YA authors” write books that feature white, straight, abled characters. It’s also true that this is what the majority of entertainment media presents to us every day. THIS IS THE WORLD TODAY.

The point is: THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS. Even though “the majority” writes about white, straight, abled characters, there are others — aka the minority — who do not. I also grant that it can be hard to find these other options, especially when the mainstream media is busy stuffing our faces with ads, promotions, and the like about white straight abled people saving the world or having romances or just sitting around in ennui having deep thoughts.

HOWEVER. There’s this great thing now called THE INTERNET where you can search outside the mainstream for books (and other media too) about people of color, LGBT people, and disabled people. I have spent a lot of time creating and maintaining websites that make finding these stories easier, and right now I spend a lot of time on one of them, Diversity in YA, and you might want to look at the book lists there to find something you might enjoy.

By buying those books or asking your library to buy them, you can make a change in “what sells.” It is the basic truth of capitalism: vote with your wallet. That is everyone’s responsibility.

sarahreesbrennan:

hollyblack:

ivegotthekittens:

malindalo:

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

So, you’re suggesting I read books by authors I do not like, and/or that deals with subjects I am not interested in, simply because it has a PoC/LGBT character? 
I wish certain authors would have diverse characters because these are the ones writing books I’m actually going to read. 
And I wish bestselling artists would because no matter what their next book going to be about, it would get many readers and a lot of publicity. 
Can you imagine what it would have been like for PoC and LGBT to have their group represented as one of the trio in Harry Potter? Or even just make Dumbledore openly and obviously gay? 
This is what we need. It’s not that the public isn’t aware such people exists, but they are never in the mainstream media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me this is what all those PoC justice posts are preaching. 
And best selling authors are the main streams of books, so we want them to include these characters. 

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that bestselling books are anointed and raised up by some divine hand? Like THE CLAW HAS CHOSEN? And for some reason the claw keeps choosing straight white cisgendered protagonists written by straight white cisgendered authors? REALLY?
Best selling authors don’t just HAPPEN to be in the mainstream media. Selling a lot of books MAKES someone a bestselling author and GETS mainstream media attention. But books are sold one at a time to readers who make choices about which books they want to support.
If you want more diversity, you have to buy more diversely.
And, look, I love me and I want everyone to read all my books all the time, but reading a book with a diverse cast written by JK Rowling or myself or any other white straight cisgendered writer isn’t the same as reading a book written by a person of color or a LGBTQ+ writer. It’s the difference between a secondary source and a primary source. But if you feel that FOR SOME REASON you can be absolutely sure that you’re not going to like a book you haven’t read because it isn’t already a bestseller, then I guess that’s you, but please, please, please don’t act like it’s some kind of positive political act.
And don’t you dare talk that way to Malinda.
 

I agree with everything Holly has said above and I admire that she said it without using the many expletives that came to my mind.
I see a lot of people watching shows/movies without diversity, reading books without diversity, and then asking for diversity in those books or those shows or those movies… 
You know, asking for diversity from creators who already showed they weren’t that interested in creating something diverse.
I think it’s important to wonder why people are drawn toward media without diversity, even when they say they want diversity. It’s partly because that’s the media that’s pushed, of course, but there is diverse media to be found, and there are so many people choosing not to go looking. Why do people think this way about the diverse media that’s there?
It’s very hard to believe anyone saying they want one thing, while they show you they want something else.

Also, what Sarah said.
sarahreesbrennan:

hollyblack:

ivegotthekittens:

malindalo:

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

So, you’re suggesting I read books by authors I do not like, and/or that deals with subjects I am not interested in, simply because it has a PoC/LGBT character? 
I wish certain authors would have diverse characters because these are the ones writing books I’m actually going to read. 
And I wish bestselling artists would because no matter what their next book going to be about, it would get many readers and a lot of publicity. 
Can you imagine what it would have been like for PoC and LGBT to have their group represented as one of the trio in Harry Potter? Or even just make Dumbledore openly and obviously gay? 
This is what we need. It’s not that the public isn’t aware such people exists, but they are never in the mainstream media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me this is what all those PoC justice posts are preaching. 
And best selling authors are the main streams of books, so we want them to include these characters. 

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that bestselling books are anointed and raised up by some divine hand? Like THE CLAW HAS CHOSEN? And for some reason the claw keeps choosing straight white cisgendered protagonists written by straight white cisgendered authors? REALLY?
Best selling authors don’t just HAPPEN to be in the mainstream media. Selling a lot of books MAKES someone a bestselling author and GETS mainstream media attention. But books are sold one at a time to readers who make choices about which books they want to support.
If you want more diversity, you have to buy more diversely.
And, look, I love me and I want everyone to read all my books all the time, but reading a book with a diverse cast written by JK Rowling or myself or any other white straight cisgendered writer isn’t the same as reading a book written by a person of color or a LGBTQ+ writer. It’s the difference between a secondary source and a primary source. But if you feel that FOR SOME REASON you can be absolutely sure that you’re not going to like a book you haven’t read because it isn’t already a bestseller, then I guess that’s you, but please, please, please don’t act like it’s some kind of positive political act.
And don’t you dare talk that way to Malinda.
 

I agree with everything Holly has said above and I admire that she said it without using the many expletives that came to my mind.
I see a lot of people watching shows/movies without diversity, reading books without diversity, and then asking for diversity in those books or those shows or those movies… 
You know, asking for diversity from creators who already showed they weren’t that interested in creating something diverse.
I think it’s important to wonder why people are drawn toward media without diversity, even when they say they want diversity. It’s partly because that’s the media that’s pushed, of course, but there is diverse media to be found, and there are so many people choosing not to go looking. Why do people think this way about the diverse media that’s there?
It’s very hard to believe anyone saying they want one thing, while they show you they want something else.

Also, what Sarah said.

sarahreesbrennan:

hollyblack:

ivegotthekittens:

malindalo:

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

So, you’re suggesting I read books by authors I do not like, and/or that deals with subjects I am not interested in, simply because it has a PoC/LGBT character? 

I wish certain authors would have diverse characters because these are the ones writing books I’m actually going to read. 

And I wish bestselling artists would because no matter what their next book going to be about, it would get many readers and a lot of publicity. 

Can you imagine what it would have been like for PoC and LGBT to have their group represented as one of the trio in Harry Potter? Or even just make Dumbledore openly and obviously gay? 

This is what we need. It’s not that the public isn’t aware such people exists, but they are never in the mainstream media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me this is what all those PoC justice posts are preaching. 

And best selling authors are the main streams of books, so we want them to include these characters. 

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that bestselling books are anointed and raised up by some divine hand? Like THE CLAW HAS CHOSEN? And for some reason the claw keeps choosing straight white cisgendered protagonists written by straight white cisgendered authors? REALLY?

Best selling authors don’t just HAPPEN to be in the mainstream media. Selling a lot of books MAKES someone a bestselling author and GETS mainstream media attention. But books are sold one at a time to readers who make choices about which books they want to support.

If you want more diversity, you have to buy more diversely.

And, look, I love me and I want everyone to read all my books all the time, but reading a book with a diverse cast written by JK Rowling or myself or any other white straight cisgendered writer isn’t the same as reading a book written by a person of color or a LGBTQ+ writer. It’s the difference between a secondary source and a primary source. But if you feel that FOR SOME REASON you can be absolutely sure that you’re not going to like a book you haven’t read because it isn’t already a bestseller, then I guess that’s you, but please, please, please don’t act like it’s some kind of positive political act.

And don’t you dare talk that way to Malinda.

 

I agree with everything Holly has said above and I admire that she said it without using the many expletives that came to my mind.

I see a lot of people watching shows/movies without diversity, reading books without diversity, and then asking for diversity in those books or those shows or those movies… 

You know, asking for diversity from creators who already showed they weren’t that interested in creating something diverse.

I think it’s important to wonder why people are drawn toward media without diversity, even when they say they want diversity. It’s partly because that’s the media that’s pushed, of course, but there is diverse media to be found, and there are so many people choosing not to go looking. Why do people think this way about the diverse media that’s there?

It’s very hard to believe anyone saying they want one thing, while they show you they want something else.

Also, what Sarah said.

hollyblack:

ivegotthekittens:

malindalo:

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

So, you’re suggesting I read books by authors I do not like, and/or that deals with subjects I am not interested in, simply because it has a PoC/LGBT character? 
I wish certain authors would have diverse characters because these are the ones writing books I’m actually going to read. 
And I wish bestselling artists would because no matter what their next book going to be about, it would get many readers and a lot of publicity. 
Can you imagine what it would have been like for PoC and LGBT to have their group represented as one of the trio in Harry Potter? Or even just make Dumbledore openly and obviously gay? 
This is what we need. It’s not that the public isn’t aware such people exists, but they are never in the mainstream media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me this is what all those PoC justice posts are preaching. 
And best selling authors are the main streams of books, so we want them to include these characters. 

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that bestselling books are anointed and raised up by some divine hand? Like THE CLAW HAS CHOSEN? And for some reason the claw keeps choosing straight white cisgendered protagonists written by straight white cisgendered authors? REALLY?
Best selling authors don’t just HAPPEN to be in the mainstream media. Selling a lot of books MAKES someone a bestselling author and GETS mainstream media attention. But books are sold one at a time to readers who make choices about which books they want to support.
If you want more diversity, you have to buy more diversely.
And, look, I love me and I want everyone to read all my books all the time, but reading a book with a diverse cast written by JK Rowling or myself or any other white straight cisgendered writer isn’t the same as reading a book written by a person of color or a LGBTQ+ writer. It’s the difference between a secondary source and a primary source. But if you feel that FOR SOME REASON you can be absolutely sure that you’re not going to like a book you haven’t read because it isn’t already a bestseller, then I guess that’s you, but please, please, please don’t act like it’s some kind of positive political act.
And don’t you dare talk that way to Malinda.
 

Awww Holly! <3
To answer ivegotthekittens’s question, no of course I’m not suggesting you read books you’re not interested in! I’m saying that if you’re looking for books with LGBT characters, THEY ALREADY EXIST. But often you  have to look BEYOND the bestseller list, because bestsellers tend to cater to and create the mainstream, and the mainstream is pretty darn straight.
What I’m saying is: Step outside the bestseller box once in a while. There are millions of other books out there, and many of them already have LGBT characters in them, even if they’re not written by [bestselling author]. I’m pretty sure you will like some of them.
(But also you should totally read all of Holly’s books! I’m currently reading an advance copy of her next book, The Darkest Part of the Forest and one of the main characters is gay and it is beautifully written and mysterious and creepy — all good things.)
hollyblack:

ivegotthekittens:

malindalo:

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

So, you’re suggesting I read books by authors I do not like, and/or that deals with subjects I am not interested in, simply because it has a PoC/LGBT character? 
I wish certain authors would have diverse characters because these are the ones writing books I’m actually going to read. 
And I wish bestselling artists would because no matter what their next book going to be about, it would get many readers and a lot of publicity. 
Can you imagine what it would have been like for PoC and LGBT to have their group represented as one of the trio in Harry Potter? Or even just make Dumbledore openly and obviously gay? 
This is what we need. It’s not that the public isn’t aware such people exists, but they are never in the mainstream media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me this is what all those PoC justice posts are preaching. 
And best selling authors are the main streams of books, so we want them to include these characters. 

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that bestselling books are anointed and raised up by some divine hand? Like THE CLAW HAS CHOSEN? And for some reason the claw keeps choosing straight white cisgendered protagonists written by straight white cisgendered authors? REALLY?
Best selling authors don’t just HAPPEN to be in the mainstream media. Selling a lot of books MAKES someone a bestselling author and GETS mainstream media attention. But books are sold one at a time to readers who make choices about which books they want to support.
If you want more diversity, you have to buy more diversely.
And, look, I love me and I want everyone to read all my books all the time, but reading a book with a diverse cast written by JK Rowling or myself or any other white straight cisgendered writer isn’t the same as reading a book written by a person of color or a LGBTQ+ writer. It’s the difference between a secondary source and a primary source. But if you feel that FOR SOME REASON you can be absolutely sure that you’re not going to like a book you haven’t read because it isn’t already a bestseller, then I guess that’s you, but please, please, please don’t act like it’s some kind of positive political act.
And don’t you dare talk that way to Malinda.
 

Awww Holly! <3
To answer ivegotthekittens’s question, no of course I’m not suggesting you read books you’re not interested in! I’m saying that if you’re looking for books with LGBT characters, THEY ALREADY EXIST. But often you  have to look BEYOND the bestseller list, because bestsellers tend to cater to and create the mainstream, and the mainstream is pretty darn straight.
What I’m saying is: Step outside the bestseller box once in a while. There are millions of other books out there, and many of them already have LGBT characters in them, even if they’re not written by [bestselling author]. I’m pretty sure you will like some of them.
(But also you should totally read all of Holly’s books! I’m currently reading an advance copy of her next book, The Darkest Part of the Forest and one of the main characters is gay and it is beautifully written and mysterious and creepy — all good things.)

hollyblack:

ivegotthekittens:

malindalo:

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

So, you’re suggesting I read books by authors I do not like, and/or that deals with subjects I am not interested in, simply because it has a PoC/LGBT character? 

I wish certain authors would have diverse characters because these are the ones writing books I’m actually going to read. 

And I wish bestselling artists would because no matter what their next book going to be about, it would get many readers and a lot of publicity. 

Can you imagine what it would have been like for PoC and LGBT to have their group represented as one of the trio in Harry Potter? Or even just make Dumbledore openly and obviously gay? 

This is what we need. It’s not that the public isn’t aware such people exists, but they are never in the mainstream media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me this is what all those PoC justice posts are preaching. 

And best selling authors are the main streams of books, so we want them to include these characters. 

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that bestselling books are anointed and raised up by some divine hand? Like THE CLAW HAS CHOSEN? And for some reason the claw keeps choosing straight white cisgendered protagonists written by straight white cisgendered authors? REALLY?

Best selling authors don’t just HAPPEN to be in the mainstream media. Selling a lot of books MAKES someone a bestselling author and GETS mainstream media attention. But books are sold one at a time to readers who make choices about which books they want to support.

If you want more diversity, you have to buy more diversely.

And, look, I love me and I want everyone to read all my books all the time, but reading a book with a diverse cast written by JK Rowling or myself or any other white straight cisgendered writer isn’t the same as reading a book written by a person of color or a LGBTQ+ writer. It’s the difference between a secondary source and a primary source. But if you feel that FOR SOME REASON you can be absolutely sure that you’re not going to like a book you haven’t read because it isn’t already a bestseller, then I guess that’s you, but please, please, please don’t act like it’s some kind of positive political act.

And don’t you dare talk that way to Malinda.

 

Awww Holly! <3

To answer ivegotthekittens’s question, no of course I’m not suggesting you read books you’re not interested in! I’m saying that if you’re looking for books with LGBT characters, THEY ALREADY EXIST. But often you  have to look BEYOND the bestseller list, because bestsellers tend to cater to and create the mainstream, and the mainstream is pretty darn straight.

What I’m saying is: Step outside the bestseller box once in a while. There are millions of other books out there, and many of them already have LGBT characters in them, even if they’re not written by [bestselling author]. I’m pretty sure you will like some of them.

(But also you should totally read all of Holly’s books! I’m currently reading an advance copy of her next book, The Darkest Part of the Forest and one of the main characters is gay and it is beautifully written and mysterious and creepy — all good things.)

From today on Twitter: I often see &#8220;I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!&#8221; But There are other writers who do this. Support them.
From today on Twitter: I often see &#8220;I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!&#8221; But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

From today on Twitter: I often see “I wish [bestselling writer] would include POC/LGBT characters!” But There are other writers who do this. Support them.

idolyuri asked:
I just want you to know that huntress literally ruined me

That was part 1. Here’s part 2:

image

:) :) :)

What a great plug! Read Huntress and get punched in the gut! I promise. Hee.

Anonymous asked:
loving my illusions of fate arc...but why is the cover white when jessmin isn't?

MALINDA LO
kierstenwhite answered:

This…is an interesting question.

My publisher was very aware of Jessamin being a POC character. The model they used is Polynesian (and probably the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, but that’s neither here nor there), and they were very careful with the coloring because we didn’t want her washed out. But the lighting is really intense around the teacup, so I can see how her skin tone could be confused.

So, I don’t really have an answer for you, other than that my publisher definitely made no attempt to whitewash Jessamin or her story. The visual emphasis is supposed to be the teacup, thus the bright lighting focusing on that portion of the cover.


This is SUCH an interesting question, and it illustrates something I’ve been thinking about for awhile: the idea (that arises in many discussions of book covers, particularly) that representations of people of color must appear a certain way in order to be read as people of color. The fact, is not all people of color are read as people of color in the real world — sometimes people of color pass as white*, but that doesn’t mean they are white. Basically, being a “person of color” doesn’t necessarily mean your skin is noticeably darker than “white” (and what is “white” anyway?), and it’s important to remember that.

Racial and ethnic identity is more than skin deep. It’s about culture, lived experience, history. It’s complicated, and often impossible to express in a flat, two-dimensional image.

* Edited to add: Sometimes a person passes as white only to certain other people. Whether you recognize someone as [insert ethnic identity] often depends on your own lived experience and ethnic identity. E.g., Chinese people often notice that I am not 100% Chinese (I’m 1/4 white), but I’ve never had a white person notice that (or, at least, tell me they noticed).