Madeleine Stanley, the most recent co-winner of the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship at the University of Victoria, is devoted to developing more diverse literature, especially for young people. Madeleine writes:
“I’m in my third year in the University of Victoria’s writing department and I’m on a mission to bring diverse writing to the world. The heteronormative nature of literature, especially books for young adults and children, is damaging for both LGBTQ+ and straight youths. I devoured thousands of books in my childhood, and in devouring them I subconsciously absorbed the message that heterosexuality was “normal” or the only option. If I had diverse books at my fingertips, I may have realized I was gay sooner than I did and saved myself a lot of torment.
I’m a strong supporter of the We Need Diverse Books movement (weneeddiversebooks.org). I buy every LGBTQ+ book I can get my hands on, especially self-published ones, and spread the word about them. I spend my free time writing diverse fiction with the intention of publishing one day. It’s very important to me to showcase LGBTQ+ people as dimensional characters who have lives and personalities where their sexuality or gender isn’t the most interesting thing about them. I have the ability to tell stories and I know which stories need to be told; using my education to write anything but LGBTQ+ content would be a missed opportunity on my part. I will do whatever it takes to bring more diversity to fiction, and the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship is leading me one step closer. With every day I spend in the writing department at UVic, my writing improves and I learn new skills. I am thankful for the Lambda Foundation’s support of my continued education and in turn the support of my efforts as an LGBTQ+ writer.”