Call for Answers from International Thriller Writers Board

Call for Answers from International Thriller Writers Board

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Vanessa Lillie started this petition to International Thriller Writers Board Members

To the Board of the International Thrillers Writers (ITW):

We begin with gratitude for all that ITW has done for its members and supporting excellence in thriller writing as well as building a community of writing professionals.

However, the recent resignation of Laurie Chandlar as ITW Debut Author Chair due to the Board dismissing her request for the investigation of a member's behavior, including a police report and additional account by Penni Jones, has called into question several serious issues. We’d like these specific concerns addressed in a public statement in the next seven days as ITW's response was unacceptable at best:

1.     When a complaint is brought to the ITW Board, what’s the process for review and response? Is this always followed for all complaints?

2.     Was that process followed in Laurie Chandlar’s case? Please outline the response and steps taken, even if in general terms. 

3.     Based on the account by Adam Hamdy, why was the complaint only considered after he recently brought it up vs. when it was originally brought to the attention by Laurie Chandlar? This appears to be a sexist double-standard.

4.     Why does the Code of Conduct only extend to ITW events? How can members feel safe at ITW events if people who break the code elsewhere are allowed to continue to participate in ITW events? Particularly, when those code violations are brought directly to the Board, like the instance with Laurie Chandlar and Penni Jones. 

In addition, the demographics of the ITW board are a majority cis, white and male. That lack of diversity has been recently demonstrated:

·      By Laurie Chandlar bringing a serious accusation that's predominately experienced by women at these male-dominated events and being summarily dismissed.

·      By the initial, problematic statement made by ITW about the Black Lives Matter movement and how the Board had to bring in expertise because they didn’t have the capabilities to address these most basic of issues.

5.     We would call on ITW to share their view on having a diversity of genders, socioeconomics, ages and races / ethnicities on the board in the future as well as their timeline to ensure this is done.

a.     Further, this calls into question the future of ITW as we must reflect the increasingly diverse thriller writers as well as support increasing membership in that vital direction.

6.     Finally, with the opportunity to share ITW’s valuable Thrillerfest conference with more Black writers thanks to the recent donation efforts amounting to $20,000, does ITW have a plan for ensuring the safety of experience and diverse representation at the online conference? 

This is signed by the following ITW members, those interested in the future of crime fiction publishing, and those demanding safety and diverse representation within our community. 


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