Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing

A Report


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Led by Dr Anamik Saha and Dr Sandra van Lente in partnership with Goldsmiths Press and Goldsmiths, University of London, Spread the Word and The BooksellerRethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing is the first academic study in the UK which looks at how cultural production itself might disadvantage writers of colour. 

Across the publishing industry, various initiatives have been designed and implemented to diversify the composition of the workforce, based on the assumption that this will automatically lead to ‘diverse’ output that will reach wider audiences. But is this assumption correct? 

The research looks at how cultural production itself might disadvantage racial and ethnic minorities. Using the British publishing industry as a case study and focussing on literary fiction, crime/thriller and YA, it explores how writers of colour experience the publishing processEach stage of production is examined  from acquisition, to editorial and design, to marketing & PR, to sales, to retail – to see the particular challenges (or at times, opportunities) writers of colour encounter.  

Since May 2019, over 100 people working in the publishing industry have been interviewed, including authors, agents, publishers, editors, experts in marketing, PR and sales as well as retailers and festival curators.  

The report, with a foreword by Bernardine Evaristoprovides an overview of the findings and calls to action for the publishing industry and wider literature sectors to work better with writers from underrepresented backgrounds and reach wider audiences in the process.