Who are the Tall Poppies and Why You Should Care?
I was interviewed by my crabby brother, Ray, about who the Tall Poppies are and he cleared it all up for you.
Ray: So, Ann – what is this flower group you put together and why do you spend so much time on it? I didn’t know you like gardening.
Ann Garvin: The Tall Poppy Writers did a very un-American thing. We decided not to compete against each other. As authors, we believed if we were going to make it, we had to hold hands and stick together. We had to get organized and help each other. Tall Poppies is an author cooperative that works to help female writers find readers – and to support literacy-related charities.
R: Why don’t you just hire someone to do this for you? Haven’t you made it big already?
AG: Making it for a Tall Poppy Writer isn’t about making payments on a beach house bought with best-seller royalties, or making the rounds on the talk show circuit. Making it for me and the authors who compromise the Tall Poppy Writers is being able to keep writing stories, finding readers, interacting with them, and working every day. Oh, and making some money. We like to eat.
R: Wouldn’t it be easier if you just did it yourself without all these other people?
AG: No, Ray. *eye roll* The Tall Poppies believe a rising tide lifts all boats and we want to lift our voices so that others can be heard as well. We sing each other’s praises and work together week after week even when we’re sick, overwhelmed, or injured. We are like relay racers on a track team; when one person takes a rest, the others grab the baton.
We want readers to find us so we can entertain them with our stories now and in the future. We want our readers to help us raise money for Room to Read to help girls in third world countries get education so that they can get jobs that are not part of the sex trade.
R: I mean, that’s kind of cool. But why do you think other people should care? People are busy.
AG: Because I think people care about women and girls. I think you care about smart, kind, talented writers who sincerely want to bind people with the humanity of storytelling. Because we think you will like our stories and if we work hard enough, maybe we can understand the world a little better together.
R: But you’re all women? Why no men in your group?
AG: Because women have a hard time in the entertainment fields. Women writers don’t get the respect and reviews male writers do. The movie industry prioritizes stories by and for men even when women are the majority. Because women are busy and we all have to go to the grocery store, work all day, and still be kind to our families. As writers we do all that and try to bring good stories to the forefront as well. Because the voices and opinions and experiences of women matter and we don’t get heard enough.
R: Why you, though?
AG: The only way I could figure out how to keep writing without getting burned out, quitting, or yelling at the older man driving too slow in front of me was to put together a group of authors who would work together. I like people; they give me energy and a purpose. I love meeting readers and writers and my nest is getting empty. I had to fill it up with friends. Why not me?
R: I really think you should calm down. You’ve always been a little intense.
AG: Ray, don’t ever tell a woman to calm down.