I’ve been meaning to write this breakdown for a couple of years now and it keeps sliding in and out of relevance. With the second Avengers film coming up and some encouragement from friends on how I Ought To Write This Stuff Down I thought I’d dust off my thoughts and finally put them up for general consumption.
A Smugglerific Cover: Hunting Monsters by S. L. Huang
Today we unveiled the cover of Book Smugglers Publishing’s very first short story!
Both of us were blown away upon our first read of Hunting Monsters. A story that combines elements of popular fables such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Red Riding Hood”, S.L. Huang’s version cleverly subverts these classic fairy tales by integrating an unexpected love story, a powerful mother-daughter relationship, and a rich historical fantasy setting.
We eventually chose to publish Hunting Monsters because it’s a powerful coming of age story of a young girl grappling with the fact that her mothers have secret lives and a history of their own. Also, because it’s a story about monsters – the different faces they assume and the complications in dealing with them.
S.L. Huang wrote an incredibly beautiful, raw story that resonates powerfully with us every time we read it. We are honored to publish Hunting Monsters… and we hope you will enjoy it, too.
More about the story, pre-order links and publishing date HERE.
On Poisoned Apples, the "Great YA Debate," and the Death of the Patriarchy -
My friend Christine Heppermann’s book POISONED APPLES: POEMS FOR YOU MY PRETTY released this week. This collection is an unabashedly feminist look at girls, body image, and eating disorders told through the lens of fairy tales, designed for young adults.
The book is arriving at an interesting…
AngryGirlComics at SPX! -
Hi friends! Bit of a late announcement, but if anyone’s going to SPX next weekend, I’ll be tabling with Amy Chu and her crew! Here’s what I tentatively plan to print, mostly 8x11 but a few freebie postcards as well.
If you really want a print of something that isn’t listed…
The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassai Barahal touches on many of the events of the three Spiritwalker books, in Bee’s own words and illustrated by her sketches. The journal reveals a number of details about goings-on that Cat never saw: Bee’s true feelings about Andavai and his relationship with Cat, a surprising deal she tried to strike with Camjiata, the real reason she married Caonabo. Getting her point of view on events, when the books are so strongly from Cat’s perspective, provides a more complete picture of what was really going on. But fun as those details are, there are two even better reasons to read this story: the interactions between Bee and Cat, and the gorgeous illustrations.
Because this isn’t just a story, it’s a conversation. — Guest Review: The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal by Kate Elliott and Julie Dillon — KJ @ Lady Business (via ladybusinessplus)
Anonymous said: Ms. Bardugo, I loved your first books, but I was terribly disappointed to see you give in to political correctness in Ruin & Rising. You had a great story and then you ruined it with unnecessary lesbianism. Authors don't need to make statements, they just need to write good books. I hope you'll remember that in the future.
I was really tempted to ignore this because I don’t believe in giving anon wangs a platform, but the term “unnecessary lesbianism” made me laugh so hard that I caved.
Authors can write good books and make statements. I’m going to make some statements now. (Get ready.)
Queer people and queer relationships aren’t less necessary to narrative than cishet people or relationships. In fact, given the lovely emails and messages I’ve received about Tamar and Nadia (and given the existence of anon wangs like you), I’d say making queer relationships visible in young adult fiction is an excellent—and yes, necessary—idea.
I do agree that story trumps statement or we’d all just write angry pamphlets, but queer people exist both in my world and the world of the Grisha trilogy. I don’t see how including them in my work is making a statement unless that statement is “I won’t willfully ignore or exclude people in order to make a few anon wangs happy.” If that’s the statement I’m making, I’m totally down with it.
Also, I’m going to take this moment to shout out Malinda Lo, Laura Lam, Alex London, David Levithan, Emily Danforth, Emma Trevayne, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Clare, and to link to Malinda’s 2013 guide to LGBT in YA. Because why just give attention to bigots when you can talk about awesome books and authors instead?
Quick question to the general populace: who wants to join my band Unnecessary Lesbianism? I only play the triangle, but I know we’re going to make it big.
Isn’t this lovely. I’m really honoured to be on Leigh’s list which has all authors I love and respect (as I do Leigh herself). I was just reading an interview with David Levithan, who has helped change the face of children’s publishing, and he talked about this very thing and listed several authors he loves and admires too:
I think, while there is still a long way to go, that it is really beautiful we can talk about this, and celebrate it, and have a lot of authors and books to talk about, and come together in love and respect and hope for a changing world despite, you know, the absolute raving bags of seagull poop who talk of writing about love as ‘scandalous’ ‘for sales’ ‘to make a statement’ ‘to be politically correct’ or whatever other absolute obvious nonsense they talk about to disguise the fact that the hatred in their own hearts makes them uncomfortable and they just want the discomfort to go awwwwwwway.
Quick question to the anon: how on earth does two people loving each other make a book ‘not good’? How and why does it *ruin* a book for you? And if it does… the whole world is full of so many different loves. If it does, the whole world is going to be ruined for you. Unless you change. I hope you do, because until you do, it’s not the world that’s rotten and twisted: it’s you. Not the world, not stories, not authors, not characters, certainly not love, but you, you, you.
I hope you’ll remember that in the future.
ahahahahahaha unnecessary lesbianism!
bigotry gives you a stupid.
Okay, totally in love with the phrase “unnecessary lesbianism” now.
If you like far future science fiction pie with a delicious fantasy cherry topping, complicated cultures coming together like tectonic plates, a story where a young woman gets to be exceptional but also learn about herself and be stronger than ever before, have sex with hot dudes who respect her without being judged for it or slut shamed, a complicated intergalactic mystery with multiple types of cultures, and lots of political machinations, then Jaran is the book for you. —
Review: Jaran by Kate Elliott, or How Will They Fuck? A Mystery — Renay @ Lady Business (via ladybusinessplus)
These Lady Business reviews do a great thing wherein they talk about what the reader loved and what didn’t work for the reader—that’s how I read books and so I really appreciate reviews that talk about books the way I think about them in my head as a reader (and as a writer).
aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:
Unknown artist, possibly of the Brazilian School
Black Artist Completing a Portrait of a White Female Aristocrat
Brazil (early 1700s)
Oil on canvas
Philadelphia private collection
I was thrilled at first to see this image - a pre-modern Black woman artist, portrayed at work! But then I saw this:
Although this black artist appears to be wearing a dress, it is likely to be a male figure. As the scholar Sheldon Cheek explains, the artist wears an earring and a silver collar, both common articles worn by black male servants/slaves in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, the collar traditionally indicating slave status. Women rarely, if ever, wore the silver collar. The artist also appears to be wearing a silver “shackle” on the arm.
Ugh. Pretty awful.
I think we should all be pretty critical of what’s written about this painting. Especially the part you’ve quoted above about how they have assigned the gender of the artist in the painting. I find it bizarre that something that is supposed to indicate enslaved status (not gender) somehow trumps this person wearing women’s clothing (that’s also a woman’s hat to the best of my knowledge).
The Americas, including Brazil, have a long tradition of transgender and third gender people. This is one of those images from the past that falls quite easily through the cracks because it is a collection of “exceptions”; it doesn’t fit nicely into categories that have been created and therefore, it’s more or less ignored.
If anyone’s hesitant to be critical, maybe you should also note that both the articles linked above make claims that slavery in Brazil was “less harsh” than other places. What???
How many of our assumptions are being projected onto this painting? Are the “contradictions” present in it a product of the painting itself, or is the problem with the categories we try to place it in? How many layers do we have to fight uphill through when we even look at this image? After all, History teaches us:
- women weren’t artists
- Black people weren’t artists
- Black people were enslaved
- Enslaved people didn’t do anything of worth
- Transgender, genderqueer and third gender people didn’t exist before the 1960s
- white people control how Black images are perceived, but not the other way around
- gender must be immediately perceivable and fit into our categories of “male” and “female”
^ So this is the baggage we bring with us when we look at this image. We look at this painting, and we actively search for indicators that allow us to continue to believe the above assumptions.
If we take away those assumptions, if we try to move past them and see this portrait with new eyes, what are we left with? Whose History do we see here? Maybe it’s mine; maybe it’s yours.