BookCon is a convention that began in 2014 with the goal of connecting pop culture and literature / book industry. The event takes place in New York City and is modeled after the popular Comic Con convention which highlights news and information on all things comic book related.
With the creation of BookCon in 2014, another movement took place simultaneously as a result of an “all white and male author lineup for its inaugural BookCon “Blockbuster Reads” panel”. #WeNeedDiverseBooks (WNDB) went viral during April 2014 in an effort to promote diversity in literature. In response, ReedPoop added a woman of color to its panel and “invited the grassroots group behind the hashtag to put together its own blockbuster panel of diverse authors.”
Since then, WNDB has been a mainstay within BookCon, helping to promote diversity and inclusion within the industry in all facets from writing to publishing. According to Publishers Weekly, “since BookCon made its debut in 2014, WNDB has had a presence at the literary fanfest as diverse books have exploded in popularity and now routinely perch at the top of bestseller lists.”
From a hashtag to real progress, BookCon and WNDB is a testament to what can happen when an industry gets behind all talent and promotes avenues of success in a multitude of ways.
In addition, other ways WNBR supports diversity in literature is with its “Walter Dean Myers Award for established writers from diverse backgrounds whose work features characters from a variety of backgrounds or addresses the issue of diversity or discrimination. It also established grants for up-and-coming writers and illustrators. More recently, WNDB launched an internship program to encourage young people from minority backgrounds to consider publishing careers and a mentorship program pairing established writers with emerging ones.”