Every year about this time, I post about the ALAN Workshop. I usually attend the conference, but this year I didn’t.
ALAN, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE meets every year on the Monday and Tuesday that end the NCTE annual conference and that would be just before Thanksgiving. ALAN is not just a conference.
The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) promotes communication and cooperation among all individuals who have a special interest in adolescent literature, presents programs and conferences on this subject, promotes and increases the number of articles and publications devoted to it and integrates the efforts of all those with an interest in this literature.
It publishers a peer reviewed journal, provides grants and provides awards that recognize outstanding young adult authors and literature. Membership is a mere $42. The Workshop is preceded by both a breakfast and an evening of cocktails. Over the two days of the event, participants hear from numerous authors, scholars and publishers, network with others involved in young adult literature, receive boxes with 40 books and stand in many lines to get books signed by rock start authors. The event does limit registration.
I’d been to 3 consecutive ALAN Workshops and decided to not attend this year. I followed posts on Twitter and FB about the event and, as is typical I was overwhelmed by the large presence of Native American or authors of color and was underwhelmed but the small presence of brown attendees. What I’ve realized is that I too often let this reflect on my opinion of ALAN, when they really cannot control who does and doesn’t decide who attends. Not to mention how incredibly White YA is.
Not many conferences invite as many diverse authors as the ALAN Workshop. They pay attention to that and work for the diversity.
Oh, I’ll be at both NCTE and ALAN next year in Atlanta. I hope you will be, too. Really think about it!