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One highly opinionated feminist YA nerd's twisted, snarky and informative journey through the genre's perils, pitfalls and sparkles.

Update on the Wicked Pretty Things anthology...

There's been a lot of hubbub since my last post regarding Jessica Verday, Trisha Telep and the supposed 'alternative sexualities' thing I keep hearing about. A lot of people have been asking me about this so here are a few useful links as to what's been happening:

- The obligatory shameless plug of my latest Book Lantern post where I talk briefly about this and the supposed default mode we have for characters. I think it's really important for us to discuss why LGBTQ characters are so important in fiction, especially YA, as well as characters of colour, different social standings, different cultures, etc. There are a few more things I want to touch upon with this issue, especially in cases where such representation goes wrong (fetishising, tokenism and cultural appropriation ahoy!) but that post will take some time to do properly.

- Jessica Verday offers an update on events, the publishers respond, and why she will not reinstate her story to Telep's anthology. Constable & Robinson announce they have "no direct association" with Telep, completely support LGBTQ fiction and deeply regret any offence caused. Running Press also express similar regrets, announcing they were never involved in Telep's decision which doesn't reflect their philosophy. They also mentioned respecting Verday's decision to stay out of the anthology but will continue with publication.

- Melissa Marr asks for her name to be removed from the publicity and advertising of the anthology (she is not part of the anthology but the cover blurb does describe the stories as having "A Melissa Marr-ish slant.")

- Lesley Livingston, writer of the Wondrous Strange series, pulls out of the anthology.

- Karen Mahoney, author of The Iron Witch and regular contributor to Telep's anthologies, also pulls out.

- Lisa Mantchev also pulls out.

- Brenna Yovanoff, writer of "The Replacement", becomes the fifth writer to drop out.

- Ann Aguirre drops out of a completely different anthology, Brave New Love, also edited by Telep, in protest.

- Seanan McGuire becomes the sixth author to pull out of the anthology. Her LJ post explaining why is here.

- Saundra Mitchell pulls her story from the future Telep edited anthology The Mammoth Book of Ghost stories. Her blog piece is particularly touching and I highly recommend you read it.

- Caitlin Kittredge comments on Cleolinda Jones's summary of events to announce that, while it was too late for her to remove her story from Telep's latest steampunk YA anthology, Corsets and Clockwork, she has told the publishers that she will no longer contribute stories to anything they publish whilst Telep's services are employed.

- This isn't related to anything but it's definitely worth your time. Alex Sanchez's list of LGBTQ books, both fiction and non-fiction, for kids and teens. There are some great recommendations on the list and I urge you to check some of them out, especially the lesser known titles.

- There hasn't been an official announcement about this yet but it seems inevitable. Jackson Pearce's name is no longer on the Wicked Pretty Things GoodReads page and all mention of the anthology has been removed from her website.

- Another writer pulls out of Telep's Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance. Stacia Kane explains why at her blog here.

- Andrew Smith pulls out of the dystopian YA anthology.

- Here's the apology issued by Telep and Constable & Robinson in the comments of the original Verday post, posted 25th March 2011:

I sincerely regret the sequence of events which has led to Jessica Verday’s story ‘Flesh Which Is Not Flesh’ being excluded from the forthcoming anthology Wicked Pretty Things. This has been the result of a misunderstanding on my part which is entirely regrettable. Along with publishers Constable & Robinson Ltd, who commissioned the anthology, and Running Press, who are due to co-publish the book in the United States, I fully support LGBTQ issues. I apologise wholeheartedly for any offence that I have caused and offer the assurance that I would not in future reject any story on the grounds that it included a gay (or any LGBTQ) relationship.

Trisha Telep

- Francesca Lia Block confirms on twitter that she will be staying in the anthology. UPDATE: Just gone up on twitter, 5th April (this is a pretty big deal - for the arguably most well renowned author on the anthology to go from publicly supporting it to dropping out is pretty indicative of how big a mess this has become, especially in the aftermath of Running Press's statement and the contract leak):

"f it no more pretty wicked things for me. i'm withdrawing."

- A Publisher's Weekly article from Christopher Navratil, the publisher of Running Press. To be honest, I think the piece is rather shoddy. Things are missed out, facts are misrepresented and there's no comment from authors who pulled out of the anthology or Telep herself. Telep's decision to ask Verday to change her story is never really touched upon, nor are the reasons why this was a bad thing. Running Press maintain that they are supportive of LGBTQ content in fiction which I believe but we're not getting the full story her and I doubt we ever will.

- Cleolinda Jones has all the latest information, including a copy of the anthology contract where there are no specifications for the story beyond word count and Telep is clearly listed as an agent working for the publisher, not independently. There's more information there that I heartily recommend you read. It's getting murkier and murkier the more information we get.

- Jim Hines offers a new home for the stories pulled from the anthology.

I'll update this post if more developments happen.

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Marzie said...

It's almost as interesting to see who remains with this anthology as to see who has left it, isn't it? Bought my first Jessica Verday book the other day.... ;)

Merle said...

I wonder why the publisher isn't saying anything new yet. I mean... they can't exactly continue on with the anthology at this point, can they? No one's going to want anything to do with it. How short does the list of authors have to become for them to officially call it off?

Anonymous said...

This is interesting but who's to say Telep wouldn't manufacture a 'safe' reason to reject a LGBTQ submission in future?

Anonymous said...

On a side note: I reviewed Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement for my publisher last year, and I gave it a relatively high rating (I'm nor trying to advertise anything: I just thought it would be apropos in the Sparkle Project). I particularly enjoyed her female characters: after tons and tons of weeping, fainting damsels I had to endure, she gave me two quick-witted, capable and all-around kick-ass girls. When I learned that she decided to pull out of that anthology, my respect for her went up a notch further.
(morri_delrae - still cannot log in :( )

Jess said...

I'm rather disappointed with Francesca Lia Block- not only is she ignoring how badly this was handled, but she's denying that the editor and publishers have pushed the blame of this debacle on Verday.

Telep has a lot more to apologize for than just her interaction with Verday.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the anonymous comment...having problems posting under my name.

I was bothered by the Publisher's Weekly piece and how it blamed Verday for how she "accused Running Press of intolerance and censorship". Interesting that the article is titled "The Misinformation Age: What Happens When a Headline Goes Viral" and there's a lot of misinformation (on the part of the publisher). They make it sound like they did nothing wrong, but isn't it a publishing company's job to, say, reign in a problem editor? Also, there's a quote about "...and stand up and say what is right." Wouldn't this quote apply to Verday and the other authors that pulled their work from the anthology as well as the publishing company?


Merle said...

Here I was asking why the publisher hadn't said anything new, and kinda wish they would. I regret that a lot now, because damn if that article isn;t the slimiest thing I've read in a while.

Jess said...

It seems that Francesca Lia Block had a change of heart- she's out of the PWT anthology!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I saw you asking on Twitter for LGBTQ+ charities - I don't have Twitter but here's a pretty good list:

Also... are you coordinarting an anthology of your own? Are you accepting/open to submissions? :)

France said...

This was the cutest cover Iv'e ever seen. Cute indeed.

Mary H said...

Out of curiosity, did any of the authors publish their intended stories elsewhere?

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