People of color have long been underrepresented in the publishing industry, but a new study out of the University College London shows that is starting to change amongst young adult writers in the UK.
The study found that only 7.1 percent of YA authors in the UK were people of color in 2017. That figure jumped to 13.25 percent in 2018 and has risen even further to a more promising 19.6 percent as of 2019.
“Although these findings are focused only on YA literature, it has given me hope that industry efforts at fairer representation will be seen in other age groups as well,” said YA novelist Candy Gourlay, who was born and raised in the Philippines and lives in London.
The increase comes only months after the Black Writers’ Guild was formed, which called on publishers to “tackle the deep-rooted racial inequalities” in big publishing houses. After publishing houses started raising awareness of racial inequality following the death of George Floyd, the Black Writers Guild made sure to point out the need for publishers to address their own issues of racial inequality, stating that the industry fails to reflect Britain’s racial and regional diversity with white, privately educated individuals massively over-represented.
With more young authors publishing, hopefully, this is a sign that more accurate representation is making its way into the publishing industry.