#WeNeedDiverseBooks goes viral

The campaign hit the Internet today

Topics: diversity, literature, Books, Fiction, Novels, Young Adult, Writing,

It’s well known that even in 2014, America needs more diversity in, well, pretty much every field imaginable. But the same goes for realms beyond real life: Our fiction is sadly just as dominated by straight white men as the physical world is. To call attention to this fact, a group of activists and writers have launched the #WeNeedDiverseDooks campaign on Twitter, Tumblr and the Internet-at-large.

The movement officially launched May 1 at 1 p.m. EDT, but word of the campaign spread so quickly that many took to celebrating the Twitter hashtag days before the official start date. The hope of the campaign is to bring awareness to the publishing community that readers want books that relay a broader range of experiences and perspectives.

Unlike some hashtag activism efforts, #WeNeedDiverseBooks has a plan to get noticed and make a dent in the publishing world. The plan for the first two days, according to the campaign’s Tumblr, is to urge people to post a photo explaining why they need diverse books and then build a conversation around diversity in literature. The hope is to “get enough people to participate to make the hashtag trend and grab the notice of more media outlets.” (Noticed!)

Many people have already taken part, including notable writers and journalists:

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By May 3, the final day of the campaign, get ready to put your money where your mouth is and buy a book that has some diversity:

There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign!

Ready, set, go!

Prachi Gupta
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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