Lulu’s Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you hating on academia?

Lulu hearts academia. Truly. We are not suggesting we do away with the academy. We are not suggesting that it is wrong for writers to teach. We are not suggesting that academics should not get prizes. We are not even suggesting that more prizes go to non-academics. What we are saying is: let us honestly talk about the inclusiveness issues in academia. Let us look at the data on prizes and the intersection of prizes and academia. Let us discuss, all of us, what we need to do to rectify the problems in academia and each take ownership for effecting change. Let us commit to upholding inclusiveness as a shared value and interrogate everything about our community for it’s adherence to that value. Let us work together to make the changes necessary to actually be inclusive.

 

Why are you reporting data on the amount of support academic writers receive versus those writers who are not part of academia?

We are counting/reporting this data because there is an obvious and open acknowledgement from within the academic community that there is a lack of inclusivity. If the awards are all going to academics, they are going to those who are privileged enough to be there in the first place and a drawn from a pool that is white and economically privileged. Full-time and part-time faculty are, respectively, 59/50% male, 81/77% white and have a household income of $114/$92K.   Of students, 60% are white, 15% are black, 15% are Hispanic, 6% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1% are American Indian/Alaska Native.

Lulu wonders if this functions as an erasure of all literary voices that exist outside the academy and if the failure to give them serious consideration is ignoring the work of those who are not part of the system.  Do we want future generations to believe, as we have been lead to believe, that great literature is solely defined by the academy. Furthermore, do we want to perpetuate the system by only rewarding those who are part of it?

If we accept that women are published less, people of color are published less, LGBTQQiA people are published less, and dis/abled people are published less while we understand that top tier literary journals and periodicals primarily,  directly solicit their content than we must consider a source, or a pool of writers from which these editors solicit.

 

Isn’t academia a good place for writers? I mean, writers need jobs– are you saying they shouldn’t work in academia?

Lulu is not suggesting that writers should or should not be working in any specific industry. We do want all artists to have access to a living wage, medical benefits, and the job security needed to sustain a writing or artistic career.

We would like to interrogate a system in which writers feel they must enter into an exploitative relationship with an employer to further their career.

 

Why are you counting adjunct faculty with tenured faculty?

  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics as part of the United States Department of Education: “Faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions… include professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, lecturers, assisting professors, adjunct professors, and interim professors.”
  • Money equals influence.
  • Semantics are used to convince one labor force that they are better than/less than another labor force.
  • Listing any academic affiliation in one’s bios offers legitimacy in the eyes of editors.
  • To show the far-reaching control of academia, we must be candid and honest about how we are influenced.

The data we have collected reflects academia’s influence and control. We are looking at the entire system as an entity and will not make judgement calls on if and how it should be divided. If you are cashing academic checks, you are influenced by academia and even the exploited workforce is part of the academic system.

 

What’s wrong with unpaid internships?

While Lulu is itself a volunteer organization, and we support and encourage volunteering, we are opposed to unpaid labor for for-profit entities and structured unpaid internship programs that become available only to those who can afford to work without pay.  This ensures that opportunities are only available to the wealthy.  We also are opposed to academic institutions charging tuition for those hours.

 

I have an issue with your methodology….

We would love to hear from you! The impetus behind this data collection is that Lulu wants to start a conversation about how to best serve the literary community. We’re always happy to answer questions, take feedback, think about ways in which we can do better.

Please email us! info@thelulufund.org

 

Where did you get the name Lulu?

Lulu’s standard definition is: an outstanding example of a particular type of person or thing.  Lulu loves outstanding examples of persons and things, re: The Lulu Awards.