Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labelled: “This could change your life.” – Helen Exley
With VAW being a taboo topic in many cultures and communities, pop culture has become an invaluable awareness-raising, advocacy and educational channel through which the anti-Violence Against Women (VAW) movement can reach out to educate communities and raise their awareness about VAW, to break the silence surrounding the violence and to inspire people to take action to stop this human rights atrocity.
In 2014, The Pixel Project was proud to introduce our Read For Pixels campaign. Read For Pixels was created in recognition of the longstanding power of books to shape cultural ideas, trigger social change, and influence the course of history. From Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird to to J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, popular authors and their stories have been instrumental in planting ideas, triggering thoughtful water-cooler discussions, and providing food for thought for communities. And in the age of Geek culture and social media, authors wield influence beyond just their books as they are able to directly communicate their readers and fans via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media channels.
Through our 2014 Read For Pixels initiatives, we worked with 16 award-winning bestselling authors who hail from genres as diverse as Comics, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Many of them are global celebrities with strong fan followings, others are well-respected in their countries or genres. Still others are up-and-coming stars who have decided to use their talents to support women’s human rights. It is the movement to end VAW that unites and inspires them and we hope that all of them will continue to work with the movement in years to come.
To learn more about each author and their books, click on the author’s name.
To learn more about what each author has to say about violence against women, click on their quote in their write-up below to be taken to the YouTube video of their Read For Pixels Google Hangout or their blog articles.
Written and compiled by Regina Yau, with Google Hangout transcriptions by Samantha Carroll.
Author Against VAW #1: Alyson Noel
Alyson Noel is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Soul Seeker series, the Immortals series, the Riley Bloom series, and eight previous novels for St. Martin’s Press. Her books feature female protagonists who are intrepid, curious, and independent. When speaking out about stopping violence against women, she says: “I think it should be an end question right that every girl is able to grow up in a safe environment and never feel threatened by the people around her and I’m speaking emotionally and physically because there is emotional violence as well. I just think it should be a right and I think that we should strive for that to be a right. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Everybody.”
Author Against VAW #2: Chuck Wendig
Chuck Wendig is an acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books. Chuck has periodically spoken out very strongly against misogyny and sexism in popular culture and the Geek world. In a recent blog post, he wrote: “I think that rape culture is real. I think that rape culture is a passive frequency — background noise — that opens the door to (and softens or eradicates the punishment against) misogyny and assault and the destruction of safety for women. I suspect that some deny the existence of rape culture because they misunderstand it as being active. As in, “If I’m not actively promoting rape, then clearly a culture of it doesn’t exist.” But they miss how so many subtle, unseen, unrealized things contribute to that culture: in our language, in our expectations, in the media we consume.” Chuck also talks extensively about violence against women in Geek culture in his Read For Pixels Google Hangout with The Pixel Project.
Author Against VAW #3: Cornelia Funke
Cornelia Funke is an internationally bestselling, multiple-award-winning author, best known for writing the Inkheart trilogy, Dragon Rider, and The Thief Lord. The Thief Lord, her first book to be translated into English, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, the USA Today bestseller list and won the prestigious Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the best translated children’s book of the year. When talking about violence against women and girls, she points out the importance of women standing up to support each other and their daughters, saying: “[…] we want the families to be the shelter for children but very often it’s not. And the abuse […] often is against girls. So it starts with the women and it starts with the girls, and our experience in the world is also that when the women change, the world changes. […] the moment the women support their daughters as much as they support their sons, the world changed. “
Authors Against VAW #4: Cinda Williams Chima
Cinda Williams Chima is first-generation college graduate and college professor who became the acclaimed New York Times best-selling author of The Heir Chronicles and the Seven Realms quartet. She has spoken out against violence against women and when asked about what she thinks would help stop the violence, she says: “I think it’s important to use your best weapons to fight back against violence against women whether that is political activity or writing or how you’re raising your children (if you have children). I think it’s important of all people of goodwill to endeavour not to be part of the problem.”
Authors Against VAW #5: Delilah S. Dawson
Delilah S. Dawson is the award-winning author of the Blud series, including Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. She is also a rape survivor who has very courageously spoken out about her experience in order to help other survivors. At her Read For Pixels Google Hangout, Delilah talked about why she’s not afraid to speak out against violence against women, saying: “Violence against women is something that’s touched the women in my family as far back as I know and it stops with me. And it’s not going to happen to my daughter.”
Authors Against VAW #6: Ellen Hopkins
ELLEN HOPKINS is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Tilt, and Smoke, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She is also a staunch feminist and a domestic violence survivor who speaks out about violence against women and women’s rights whenever she can. In a blog post in September 2014, she wrote: “Across this planet, women are subjugated, dominated, mutilated, enslaved, trafficked, gang raped and then hung in public squares for having suffered such humiliation. In this country, one in three will be sexually assaulted, and the majority will be too afraid to say something—fearful of being called liars or that they dressed to provoke or drank too much or otherwise asked for behavior that men “just can’t help” doing because, you know, that’s how penises work […] You know what? Enough. I’m calling BS. Men do not have the right to abuse, damage, own, control, shame, blame or otherwise claim superiority simply because a fluke of genetics gave them a Y chromosome.”
Authors Against VAW #7: G. Willow Wilson
Willow Wilson’s novel Alif the Unseen won the 2013 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book. Her comic book series AIR (DC/Vertigo Comics) and MYSTIC: THE TENTH APPRENTICE (Marvel) were nominated for Eisner Awards. She currently writes the popular series MS. MARVEL featuring the first Muslim teenage girl taking on the mantle of a popular superhero. Willow is particularly concerned about online violence against women, saying: “In an age where cyber bullying and humiliation, particularly of women and of women in public positions […] this conversation has really changed shape. And if a lot of the violence of speech is being perpetrated on the internet then the internet is obviously a place where we need to start changing the conversation. To me that’s an obvious jump to make, that if so much misogyny these days and so much verbal violence against women begins on the internet, then let’s start on the internet to try to change it.”
Authors Against VAW #8: Guy Gavriel Kay
Guy Gavriel Kay is the award-winning author of twelve novels (most recently River of Stars), and a book of poetry. He has written book reviews and social and political commentary for the National Post and the Globe and Mail in Canada, and The Guardian in England. Translations of his fiction exceed twenty-five languages and his books have appeared on bestseller lists in many countries. In May 2014, Guy collaborated with The Pixel Project on a Read For Pixels fundraiser and stated: “I firmly believe […] that one of the measures of any culture is the status of women in that society. Inherent, endemic violence against women is more than some ‘black mark’, it is a blight, and working against that is surely a cause for all of us.”
Authors Against VAW #9: Isaac Marion
Isaac Marion was born near Seattle in 1981 and has lived in and around that city ever since. He began writing in high school and self-published three novels before finally breaking through with Warm Bodies, an unusual zombie romance with a philosophical bent that become a blockbuster film in 2013. When discussing why he supports the cause to end violence against women, he said: “It’s hard for me to imagine anyone not supporting that [cause]… It’s becoming more clear to me that that’s something that I really care about, is working to combat some of these attitudes in society, the oppression of really any group that is being bullied by some other group.”
Authors Against VAW #10: Jacqueline Carey
Jacqueline Carey is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels and The Sundering epic fantasy duology. The Kushiel’s Legacy series in particular showcases a resourceful independent female protagonist and a cast of characters who have also faced the issue of violence against women. Jacqueline has a very active Facebook author page and often has conversations with her fans. When asked why she is happy to publicly support the cause to end violence against women, she said: “Based on the number of readers I’ve heard from over the years who are survivors of abuse of some sort, who have found strength in the journeys of one or more of the characters that I’ve written, I thought it might be something that would speak to my own readers, so I was happy to volunteer my time for this.”
Authors Against VAW #11: Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde has been writing in the Comedy/Fantasy Genre since 2001 when his novel ‘The Eyre Affair’ debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. Since then he has published ten more books, several of them bestsellers, and counts his sales in millions. He lives and works in Wales. In a discussion about why he supports the cause to end violence against women, he touches on the importance of increasing female leadership as one of the keys to stopping the violence and building a more peaceful world: “It’s a cause one has to support because it’s of vital importance. If you were to look around the planet and even see some of the worst, you know, war torn trouble spots, in the world, and think, “that be improved by a few female leaders?”, and the answer is always yes. Always.”
Authors Against VAW #12: Joe Hill
Joe Hill, the author of the New York Times bestsellers NOS4A2, HORNS, and HEART-SHAPED BOX, and the Eisner-award winning comic book series, LOCKE & KEY, is a feminist and a huge supporter of women’s rights ranging from getting more women into the U.S. Senate and Congress to women’s right to choose what is best for their bodies. In a discussion about why he supports the cause to end violence against women and girls, he says: “The reason this is a subject that’s important to me is because I have boys and I think it’s important that they’re getting the right messages. Also I’m an artist, I’m writer and I read a lot and I see a lot of films, I see a lot of TV and I think it’s important that this is coming up in the cultural conversation, that some of the truth of violence against women in America is reflected in some way in our fiction, in our films.
Authors Against VAW #13: Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong is the Canadian author of the New York Times bestselling Women Of The Otherworld series featuring tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves and showcasing some of today’s most striking female protagonists. She believes that it takes both men and women working together to effectively end violence against women. During her Google Hangout with The Pixel Project, she said: “One thing that I like about this campaign was the inclusion of male role models because I think so often it really becomes an issue of men versus women, and that not it at all. Many men obviously want to do more, want to be a role model and it is not an ‘us versus them’ scenario.”
Authors Against VAW #14: Kevin Hearne
Kevin Hearne is the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles and the forthcoming STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI. Kevin wrote about why he took part in Read For Pixels and the importance of being a good man, respecting women, and Feminism, saying: “If you get a Y chromosome at birth that’s your ticket to manhood, but what kind of manhood it turns out to be depends largely on the values one learns while growing up. And there are an awful lot of men out there who could stand to grow more respectful of women—and, by extension, of humanity. Because women’s rights are human rights. And being a feminist is not in any way emasculating—it means you support equal rights for women. Period.” Kevin also talks about violence against women in his Read For Pixels Google Hangout with The Pixel Project.
Authors Against VAW #15: Robert J. Sawyer
Robert J. Sawyer is the author of Hugo Award-winner Hominids, Nebula Award-winner The Terminal Experiment, and John W. Campbell Memorial Award-winner Mindscan, and numerous books which were Hugo finalists. Robert was one of the first authors to join The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign and when asked why everyone should support the cause to end violence against women, he puts it very plainly: “I think it’s really important when we pick causes to look not at “well how does this affect me?” but to look at what the greatest good for the greatest number can be… if there’s any group, by its sheer size, women are the group that’s suffered the most.”
Authors Against VAW #16: Sarah J. Mass
Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well The Assassin’s Blade, a collection of five Throne of Glass novellas. The series revolves around Celaena Sardothien, a teenaged female assassin with a conscience who stands up against tough odds to defend women, children and good people. During her Google Hangout with The Pixel Project, she said: “I honestly find it absolutely absurd and disgusting that in today’s day and age there is still violence against women […] I understand the cycles of abuse and things like that are so hard to break out of […] is why I support it [Read For Pixels], because it shouldn’t be going on any longer.”
- Alyson Noel – Photo courtesy of St Martin’s Press
- Chuck Wendig – Photo courtesy of Chuck Wendig
- Cornelia Funke – Photo courtesy of Hachette
- Cinda Williams Chima – Photo courtesy of Cinda Williams Chima
- Delilah S. Dawson – Photo courtesy of Delilah S. Dawson
- Ellen Hopkins – Photo courtesy of Goldberg McDuffie Communications; Photographer: Sonya Sones
- G. Willow Wilson – Photo courtesy of G. Willow Wilson
- Guy Gavriel Kay – Photo courtesy of Guy Gavriel Kay; Photographer: Samantha Kidd Photography
- Isaac Marion – Photo courtesy of Isaac Marion
- Jacqueline Carery – Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Carey
- Jasper Fforde – Photo courtesy of Jasper Fforde
- Joe Hill – Photo courtesy of Joe Hill
- Kelley Armstrong – Photo courtesy of Kelley Armstrong
- Kevin Hearne – Photo courtesy of Kevin Hearne
- Robert J. Sawyer – Photo courtesy of Robert J. Sawyer; Photographer: Bernard Clark
- Sarah J. Maas – Photo courtesy of Bloomsberg Publishing (USA); Photographer: Josh Wasserman