A commenter remarked on my last post about being surprised about how segregated BEA (Book Expo America) seemed and asked my thoughts. I'm not sure I can form any cogent response (my body arrived home yesterday, but my brain is over Iowa somewhere), except to say: welcome to publishing and bookselling. This separation isn't the life I lead or what I see around me (my cousins' book club in Philly is reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult), but some in the biz seem really late to the party. Which is why this site exists.
The panel I was on about book promotion through social networking with Felicia Pride, Abiola Abrams, and Daaimah Poole attracted about 200 people, most of whom where black, but there were some nonblack folks in attendance too. And I'm sure some nonblack folks weaved their way through the trade show floor to get to the African American Pavilion, and there were definitely some when Cornel West and Tavis Smiley spoke. But it's no joke that the book biz has a way to go.
A few of the interesting titles by black authors I learned about at BEA:
Rhythms of Grace by Marilynn Griffith
Unsigned Hype by Booker T. Mattison
Worth a Thousand Words by Stacy Hawkins Adams
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow (coming next year)