An excerpt from the book review follows:
Ryan Boudinot’s anthology Seattle: City of Literature: Reflections from a Community of Writers was just released by Sasquatch Books and heralded in a Seattle Met review with this subheading: “The new anthology is a comprehensive snapshot of Seattle’s community of writers, past and present.”
If “comprehensive” means Seattle’s community of mostly white writers, then I suppose the descriptor is accurate. Boudinot in his preface calls the collection “a representative sampling,” which again can only be true if the community from which he is sampling is overwhelmingly white. But writers of color do exist, and the problem is that they are barely represented in the anthology….
Another aim of the Creative Cities Network is “social inclusion and enhanced influence of culture in the world.” How is social inclusion reflected in an anthology that excludes writers of color? What kind of influence on world culture will Seattle have when it ignores a segment of its writing community?
One of the endorsers of the UNESCO bid is the city of Seattle, which has a race and social justice initiative “to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle.” Why shouldn’t this initiative apply to efforts such as the anthology?
And what was the publisher’s input? I suggest that Sasquatch try again, that the Seattle Met reviewer reconsider his use of “comprehensive,” and that the Seattle City of Literature Board hope the UNESCO folks don’t wonder about the intended readership for the anthology. Just white readers? Or also the readers of color who will not see themselves represented? In the end, the failure to acknowledge the existence and work of writers of color fails all readers.
Read the rest of the review.