There’s been a bit of a debate in the world of publishing about diversity recently. Not heard about it? Then please find a list of very good writing on the matter for your delectation below.
As a British-Bengali woman from a Muslim background brought up on a council estate and yet to be published (though my unpublished novel won an award last year, come on publishing houses!) I guess I’m a little preoccupied with the topic of diversity. It seems the fight to have voices telling different types of stories from different types of authors is harder than ever with the same old rhetoric of my youth coming creepily coming back into play (If you work hard enough you’ll get to the top regardless, Black and Asian stories are ‘niche’, White middle-class readers want to read White middle-class narratives etc.). These underlying myths need to be challenged not just for the groups that aren’t heard but for the greater good of literature. The best art makes us see the world differently and a large part of that comes from seeing through a different pair of eyes. I know most of you brilliant readers know and agree with this yet reports such as Spread the Word’s commissioned piece ‘Writing the Future’ (find below) still show this isn’t being reflected in the books that are printed today.
So how do we change it? This is when my overwhelmed/confused face comes in. Some people say it’s by writing great works, that the gold will always sift to the top, but history is written by the victors and those tend to be the people with the cash. But we shouldn’t feel defeated (remember all the uprisings) and take the first step by being aware this stuff is happening in the first place. Click the links, fill your brain, talk, tweet, discuss.
‘Writers Demand Trade Action on Diversity’ – The Bookseller
‘National Conversation: Four Examples of Diversity In Publishing by Nikesh Shukla’ – Writer’s Centre Norwich
‘Unpaid internships 'should be banned to build diversity in publishing' Kerry Hudson. Guardian.
‘The Worst Kind Of Groundhog Day: Let's Talk (Again) About Diversity In Publishing’ Roxanne Gay
Spread the Word’s commissioned report. ‘Writing the Future: Black and Asian Authors and Publishers in the UK Market Place.’
(Pictured above in order: Farhana Shaikh, Nikesh Shukla and Kerry Hudson)