Panel Recap: Publishing and the Political Conversation

Political Conversation

The Panelists for Publishing and the Political Conversation
Photo Credit Liberty Schauf

On Tuesday, April 18th, five panelists from various parts of the publishing industry gathered to discuss their role in the political conversation with WNBA-NYC members and guests at the Penguin Random House auditorium. The panel, entitled “Publishing and the Political Conversation,” started out lightheartedly with moderator Kendra Levin (executive editor at Viking Children’s Books) instructing the audience to give a “Woo” when they heard the word book in the introduction; there were several that rang out as the panelist bios were read.

Political Conversation

Publishing and the Political Conversation Attendees
Photo Credit Liberty Schauf

Each participant had something to say regarding activism and the line between personal beliefs, their company’s stance, and buyer and customer desires. Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction, spoke about how important it is to think about the audience you are trying to reach. Agent Saba Sulaiman (who also participated in our Query Roulette) discussed her belief that it “comes down to personal responsibility” to make sure the voices we want to

Political Conversation

Dhonielle Clayton, Gabriella Doob, and Cathy O’Neil
Photo Credit Liberty Schauf

amplify are heard (follow her on Twitter @agentsaba). Editor Gabriella Doob brought together the fact that the publisher never stops talking about the bottom line—but that it is the job of the editor to put forth work that contributes positively to the conversation. Sales rep Marisa Baker expressed her frustration at feeling like the middle child in publishing, and felt that overall her responsibility was to her company. Dhonielle Clayton, author and COO of nonprofit We Need Diverse Books, discussed the imperative to give children books containing characters in which they can see themselves (follow her on social media @brownbookworm). 

 

Political Conversation

Marissa Baker, Dhonielle Clayton, and Gabriella Doob
Photo Credit Liberty Schauf

The panel discussed many key topics surrounding diversity, including the importance of publishing books on subjects and with characters that reflect the makeup of our country, the pay gap in the industry that disallows many from obtaining entry level jobs, and how we as publishers can participate in the conversation.

 

The panel ended with a book raffle and some fruit and wine for the audience. Those in attendance were very happy with the event and left inspired to participate in the conversation themselves.

 

Political Conversation

Saba Sulaiman and moderator Kendra Levin
Photo Credit Liberty Schauf


 

Recap written by Christine Sikule

About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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