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A response from Dave Bradley, of SFX.

Dave Bradley, editor of SFX magazine just posted this on my Facebook. I think it's a really good response and am encouraged for the future (though saddened to see that many publishers are apparently forgetting their own female writers in the run-up to cons). 


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So here's the thing: I am sorry about the male:female imbalance on the panels. It's of course more to do with oversight than discrimination, although I naturally appreciate that's no kind of answer and we should have taken more care on this issue. Organising the Weekender is a total headache and some of what Paul [Cornell] alludes to is true - in most cases, people were on panels because their publishers asked us to put them there. A lot of our planning is led by who publishers tell us who they're bringing along. I suspect what we are guilty of is passivity in not pushing for more. To the best of my knowledge, I think I was able to find an opportunity for every female guest who contacted me directly in advance to ask if they could help; some contributors like Juliet E McKenna, Karen Grover and Jaine Fenn were not proposed by their publishers but were invited onto panels after conversations with us. We tried hard to make space for people who stepped forward and approached us, but we realise we should be more proactive. Danie Ware we know very well but I understood that her primary responsibility was on the Forbidden Planet stand, and she described her event to me as being very successful. In one instance, I admit China Miéville pointed out there was a panel with no women on it at all (due to swaps and cancellations) and he graciously agreed to step down so we could rearrange - ridiculously we hadn't noticed since by that late point the panels had become logistical puzzles rather than anything else, we were gutted when China pointed it out and of course re-planned the panel.

Should SFX have done more? Yes. Will SFX do more next time? Yes, we will approach it differently. I thank you all for your incredible patience with us as we stumble year on year towards something better. My email is david.bradley@futurenet.com if anybody wants to contact me directly with feedback and suggestions.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
la_marquise_de_
Feb. 8th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
hi, we haven't met -- I'm here via triciasullivan. I'm Kari Sperring, another British women writer, but only published in the US. I'd like to thank you for raising this issue with SFX. It's been a problem for a while and they do need reminding.
Mind you, people like me who assume that it would be Wrong to draw SFX's attention to themselves, because, well, oh, self-promotion, eep, really don't help.
Kari


Edited at 2012-02-08 11:52 am (UTC)
coth
Feb. 8th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
Hi. We haven't met either - I am also here via triciasullivan. Thanks for undertaking and posting this correspondence. And I look forward to reading more of your posts.
fjm
Feb. 9th, 2012 11:53 am (UTC)
Here via La Marquise.

Amused to see they don't understand what discrimination is and how it works. Depressed at the publishers but oh so not surprised.

I look forward to reading more of your posts.
David Tallerman
Feb. 10th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC)
Well, I wish I'd read this before posting my comment on your other post, since it says much the same but better ... feel free to just ignore that other one :)
sophiamcdougall
Feb. 10th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Hi David -- I'm afraid I don't seem to HAVE your other comment; either you've got ninja deletion skills or something went wrong! I'd say "post it again", but as you feel Dave's said it all anyway, and as I too am content with where things rest for now and therefore (as I've blogged about) withdrawing from the matter, I'm happy for just to say hello and nice to meet you.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )