At a panel about the lack of diversity in the book publishing industry, hosted by PW, a number of publishing professionals warned that the overwhelmingly white makeup of the industry threatens its long-term viability.
Two of the three amazing panelists were a part of DIBs (Diversity in Books), the group of editors who helped create the CBC Diversity Committee. Alvina Ling and Stacey Barney not only talked about some of the barriers (to entry into the publishing world along with publishing more inclusive stories), but highlighted some of the amazing bright spots in publishing that need to be celebrated in this conversation. Some of these include:
- Diversity committees instituted inside publishing houses
- Titles written by and starring people of color that have reached the bestsellers list
- Outreach to schools and universities (in-person and through virtual career fairs that introduce students early to the possibility of a career in publishing)
After about an hour of moderated discussion, the conversation was opened for audience participation. One question that was asked of the panel near the end was, “To continue to move the conversation forward, but also as a means to institute more action and change, what collaborations/partnerships/programs would you like to see instituted to help promote more diversity in-house as well as get more books supported that are written by and about people from different cultures?”
Some of the panel’s answers?
- More scholarship programs for publishing programs/internships to help with the financial burden of getting your start in publishing
- More partnerships with media outlets to cover more diverse offerings
- Finding a way to utilize celebrities to endorse reading cross-culturally
- More support systems to allow individuals to be in the publishing world (like mentorship programs)