Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to authors


I'm stating the obvious today. We couldn't do what we do without them. And we're grateful for the beautiful ways they want to affect change through books. We want to use our blog space to celebrate our amazing authors. Each week, I'd like to call out a different author for her amazing achievements and her passionate commitment to her work.

Today I want to speak out in praise of two Seal authors who brought us Invisible Girls: The Truth About Sexual Abuse, Dr. Patti Feuereisen and Caroline Pincus.

Dr. Patti's commitment to helping girls and women heal from sexual abuse is more than inspiring. Her website, girlthrive.com has become an important international resource for sexual-abuse survivors. She continues the work of encouraging girls and women of all ages to speak out, to tell their stories, to share, and to begin to heal. She continues her psychology practice in Brooklyn listening and supporting adolescent girls and women every day. Dr. Patti also speaks widely on sexual abuse at high schools and colleges and for professional associations nationwide. Maybe your organization needs her?

Caroline Pincus brought to Invisible Girls her supreme writing skills and her own commitment to the topic. The list of books Caroline has edited and written or co-written is a lengthy and impressive one.

For me, working with these women on the book Invisible Girls has been one of the highlights of my career. I am honored to have this book on our list. The statistics continue to be staggering: One in four girls will experience sexual abuse by the time she is sixteen, and 48 percent of all rapes involve a young woman under the age of eighteen. We have so much work to do. Big thanks go to Ingrid Emerick for acquiring this incredibly important title for Seal.

Until next time.

K.

5 comments:

Sarah said...

Invisible Girls is such an important book, but I admit it was tough to read such painful accounts. I salute Dr. Patti for the good work she does!

bah said...

speaking of invisible women, i notice that the cover manages to be very exclusionary in depicting what kinds of women are sexually abused in secret.

even the authors' website literally has nothing but white hands all over it.

there should be some way of brining abused girls into the light without implicitly leaving some of them behind in the dark.

Dark Daughta said...

Hi there,
I appreciated what you wrote here about the authors. It's not often that I see editors being so openly appreciative of the people who are such a large part of the publishing business, the meat, really. I came to comment on the post below and found that it's mostly not there anymore. Please don't take it away. I think there is a way for you all to actually step into your own fray, claiming your words and being forthright about what you don't know, engaging with racism and white privilege in useful, committed, intentional ways that further conversation. I know that there is probably fear. But all of us have areas of privilege and foot in the mouth moments to deal with. You're not unique in that way, no matter what these wimmin might want you to believe. sigh. I do hope you will look at the essence of what they've written, don't worry about the blogland politics behind their race politics. Take leadership over your own issues and run with it in healthy ways for all you're worth. It's good work to be engaged in. It doesn't have to feel like a home appendectomy. It always works better when you make the cuts yourself. Cheers.

littlem said...

bah beat me to it.

Publishers thrilled about the concept of promoting "Invisible Girls".

No girls of any color but white on the book cover.

(Oh, that's right. Only white women can be victims of sexual assault. Women of color all "wanted it".)

No attempt to engage with any commenters other than those who either identify as white, or don't identify their race. (And not even all of us. Really, this should read "no attempt to engage with commenters other than those saying what the publishers want to hear".)

What was that the publishers -- ALLEGEDLY FEMINIST PUBLISHERS -- were saying about "Invisible Girls" again?

And "trying to do better"?

*crickets*

Krista Lyons-Gould and Brooke Warner said...

littlem, thank you for posting. I have so many things to say. I want to speak up in support of this really important book.

First, about the publishing: it's really difficult to find the cover for any book; it's not ever a decision we make lightly. And this book was no exception. Many stock agencies won't even allow you to purchase a photo for usage on a book with a "sensitive" subject even when they have a model release on file, and that makes selection all the more difficult. I imagine we would have faced criticism had we put a young woman of color on the cover of this book. It really seemed that there was no right answer. I stand behind our choice. I'm sorry you do not like it.

Then, littlem, if you looked inside the book you'd see that these girls tell their own stories of sexual abuse, and there's no one typical story or typical girl. We come from all different backgrounds, and we are many different colors. I have read many letters from teenage girls, young women, and older women who have benefitted from this book. They are inspiring and touching and make me feel proud to have published it. These letters have come from women of every color and economic class. Sadly, sexual abuse touches EVERYONE in one way or another. Invisible Girls has now been published in other countries and in other languages too, because it's needed.

So, I'm not sure why you say the things you do above. We are engaging with many people who have commented over these last two weeks, mostly offline because we're able to learn more from individuals that way. We are not an alleged feminist publisher. We are a women's issues press with a feminist sensibility. We've expanded and shrunk and transitioned multiple times over the years, and that is how we define ourselves in our current state.

I hope this information is helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post.

Krista