S142. What Writers of Color Want White Editors to Know

Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Saturday, February 11, 2017
10:30 am to 11:45 am


In 2017, what message does an all-white masthead send to writers of color? Beyond the content of their work, what issues must these writers contend with in publishing? Four writers of color and one white editor explore real and perceived tokenism, the pressure to change a story or voice to fit an editor’s racialized assumptions, the continued erasure of writers of color in the canon and awards systems, and the highs and lows of working with editors in the face of these and other challenges.



Jennifer Niesslein is the editor of the web magazine Full Grown People. She also cofounded Brain, Child magazine and coedited it before she and her partner sold the magazine in 2012. Niesslein is the author of one memoir and the editor of two FGP anthologies.

Deesha Philyaw is a freelance writer, a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow, and the coauthor of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. For the Rumpus, Deesha contributes an interview series, VISIBLE: Women Writers of Color.

Patrice Gopo’s essays have appeared in a variety of publications including Gulf Coast, Sweet: A Literary Confection, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is at work on a collection of essays.

Dennis Norris II is a graduate of Haverford College and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. His fiction appears in SmokeLong Quarterly and Apogee Journal, among others. He is a 2015 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a 2016 Tin House Scholar. He is hard at work on his first novel.

Lisa Factora-Borchers is a writer and editor of the anthology, Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Assault. Her work is anthologized in Verses for Yolanda and Revolutionary Mothering. She is a former editor with make/shift magazine & has written for The Feminist Wire, Refinery29, and Bitch.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center