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New report finds lack of cultural diversity in UK publishing

A new report investigating the progress towards greater cultural diversity in UK publishing has been critical of the lack of representation of black and Asian writers and publishers, reports the Bookseller. The ‘Writing the Future’ report, commissioned by writer development agency Spread the Word and launched at the London Book Fair, surveyed and conducted interviews with writers, literary agents and publishers from a range of backgrounds. More than 84% of publishers and 97% of agents said that publishing is only ‘a little diverse’ or ‘not diverse at all’. Black and Asian authors were less likely to have an agent for their debut than white authors (47% compared to 64%), while many reported feeling pressured to write books that were considered ‘authentically’ black or Asian. Of the literary agents who responded to the survey, 32% said the most significant challenge was finding black and Asian authors; 22% said it was the lack of a diverse workforce, and 5% said it was a lack of market demand. Sue Lawther, director of Spread the Word, said: ‘We commissioned Writing the Future to take the temperature of an industry we suspected could be in better health. After reading the findings, it is disappointing to realise that things are as bad, or possibly even worse, than we imagined. Despite all the hard work, good intentions and a “signing up” to the principles of diversity, it seems that an old mono-culture still prevails.’

 

Category: International news