A new report commissioned by Spread the Word, edited by Danuta Kean and deputy edited by Mel Larsen, reveals that the publishing industry’s poor commitment to diversity is putting it at risk of becoming culturally irrelevant. Writers, literary agents and mainstream and independent publishers were surveyed to determine whether progress was being made on cultural diversity. The findings give cause for concern.
A survey of publishers and literary agents indicates that of the respondents over 74 percent of those employed by large publishing houses, and an alarming 97 per cent of agents, believe that the industry is only “a little diverse” or “not diverse at all.”
Out of 203 UK-based published novelists polled, 30 per cent came from a BAME background. Only 47 per cent said their début was agented compared to 64 per cent of the White novelists. Once into their publishing career, 53 per cent of BAME authors remained without an agent against 37 per cent of White authors.