great keynote earlier today, be sure you check out the recap for that, too. As a reminder, his books include The Great Greene Heist and My Life as a Rhombus.
When asked about writers needing to ask permission to write about a character of a different background or orientation, etc., Varian says asking for permission is hard, it's not like one person represents the totality of their race or disability or sex. I struggle with this a lot myself, when I'm writing a female character.
Do a lot of research, get the technical things right, interactions within the community. Growing up, I spoke one way at home, and one way out in the world, and that would be hard for someone who didn't experience my private home life to observe.
I don't expect any author to ask permission, but I do expect an author to do their research and due diligence on a subject, any subject.
Miranda Paul, the moderator, asks about the term 'casual diversity' and what the panel thinks of it.
Varian says, "Casual diversity is a horrible term, we struggled with it a lot, but I think there is something to be said for books that feature the race of a character, but race isn't the point of the story. I love the idea that there are books coming out now where people of color can be more than one thing."
He mentions Elizabeth Bluemle's post about looking for the black Ramona Quimby.
A final note of career advice from Varian: Think through who is publishing and where you and your story may fit, find your allies, they are out there.