BFS apologises for forgetting women

It’s worth mentioning that Guy Adams, Chair and Special Publications Editor for the British Fantasy Society (BFS), has issued an unreserved apology over omitting women from its latest collection.

I’m sure he will not chastise me for replicating it in full here:

Our new book, In Conversation: A Writer’s Perspective, Volume 1: Horror, edited by James Cooper, has come under justifiable flak for its all-male line up of interviewees. When James brought the manuscript to me with a view to our publishing it I know he intended no sexism in his selection of the authors but I feel deeply sorry that I didn’t flag the omission at the time. It is disgustingly simple for a man not to notice these things, a blindness to the importance of correct gender representation that I feel embarrassed to have fallen into. The next two volumes in the series are considerably more balanced in their table of contents but that doesn’t change the fact that I dropped the ball on this initial volume. I can only apologize and hope that the discussion has made other editors and publishers realize that this kind of lazy sexism is unacceptable and to watch their own lists in future!

I’m glad that the BFS had the decency to recognise its mistake, apologise for it, and do something to address the issue. Any excuse offered would have been indefensible, so I’m pleased on that score. That Mr. Cooper intended no sexism is not apparent in his choice of authors, however.

The British Fantasy Awards were also handed out at the weekend, and “Do You See”, by Sarah Pinborough, from Myth-Understandings, ed. by Ian Whates won best short fiction, and Bull Running for Girls, by Allyson Bird (Screaming Dreams) won for best collection.

I’m not done with this matter, however. While I’m pleased that the BFS has openly addressed its blunder, this debacle has left me troubled by the nature of some of the feedback I’ve been receiving about the horror industry and its (mis)representation of women.

I’m terribly busy this week, but I plan to think more about this, and perhaps take action on it.