Saturday, January 29, 2011

LGBTQ Meet and Greet

Always a highlight of the conference, the LGBTQ Meet and Greet was fantastic. Aaron Hartzler set the scene with a great story that really pulled the group together and spotlighted how important it is to talk about LGBTQ issues, and keep talking about them.

Lee Wind did a fabulous job framing the questions and keeping the conversation interesting and enlightening. Joining Aaron and Lee were Ari Lewin, editor at Putnam/Penguin and agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

While they were talking, Ari said that she would love to see a cute, fun story featuring a gay or lesbian lead. We were all surprised to hear from Jim that only about 2% of his submissions have gay or lesbian themes, but he would love to see more!

Lee opened it up for question from the over 50 attendees. Someone asked if they thought lesbian characters were underrepresented in YA, and Lee mentioned his blog and his thorough list of spotlighted books with gay and lesbian characters.

A great moment came near the end when Lee pointed out to the crowd that writing novels with LGBTQ themes and characters is a huge opportunity in publishing and should be seen as such.
When asked what they were looking for, both Ari and Jim want a book that stands out and is well-written. But Ari did hope to see more teen romance in LGBTQ books.

The event was casual and inclusive and the attendees were engaged in conversation about the current state of LGBTQ literature. Afterwards, many of us hung around to chat--keeping the good vibes going.

Great time! Can’t wait to do again this summer in LA!!


  1. Great panel -- definitely made me consider the inclusion of LGBTQ characters in my work without necessarily spotlighting sexual orientation as the main issue or theme. Keep up the good work!

  2. Best panel ever!! It was great to meet so many other writers working on projects with LGBTQ chars :)

  3. I really enjoyed this panel and it inspired me to try writing a story revolving around a queer/gay character. I'm very grateful to SCBWI for making the space for this panel and I hope that in the future they will be able to place it in a more prominent position on the schedule. I met some great people afterwards and I really look forward to attending this panel again next year.

  4. Sounds great. That would have been an amazing panel to sit on in. Most of my story ideas feature LGBTQ characters. My current MS that I'm finishing up edits on now features two boys (one gay and one bi) who fall for each other (except one of them happens to have a baby) and it's exciting to hear that these are books people DO want, since it seems they are some of the hardest to get published.