Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Minority report

Publishing is still a white preserve, with new authors from ethnic minority groups struggling to break in, reports Gavin Stamp for BBC News.
Despite the mainstream success of the likes of Andrea Levy and Monica Ali, authors with roots in immigrant communities still represent a small fraction of the industry's annual output.

This has inevitably raised questions about whether the background of key decision-makers in the industry limits the range of books being commissioned.

Samenua Sesher, director of the Decibel diversity awareness programme at the Arts Council England, says the make-up of the industry means it has missed opportunities to appeal to minority audiences through successful recent genres such as chick lit.

"Publishers need to try and cast their net a bit wider and broaden their links," she says.

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