26. April 2021: Rethinking Diversity in Publishing, British and German Perspectives

The ‘Rethinking “Diversity” in Publishing’ report published in 2020, exposed the ways that authors from particular racial and ethnic backgrounds continue to be marginalised and disadvantaged in UK publishing industries. This is despite all the various initiatives that publishing houses have implemented in the name of ‘diversity’.
In this conference, the authors of that report want to build dialogue between the UK and Germany publishing industries on how best to deal with racial/ethnic exclusions. It brings into conversation publishing professionals and activist from the UK and Germany who are working on these issues. The conference will be based around two panels, one that explores questions of diversity on the production side of the industry, the other one focussing on audiences. The aim is to explore the similarities and differences between the British and German contexts, and together formulate strategies that can tackle inequalities in the publishing sector.

10:45 am, panel 1: Racial and social inequalities in the publishing industry

In this panel the invited speakers will engage with the question of diversity within the context of the publishing industries. It will consider where publishing houses have failed to engage people from underrepresented communities, the obstacles that authors of colour face in particular, and what spaces are needed to allow authors and publishing professionals from marginalised backgrounds to truly flourish in publishing.

− Aimée Felone, Knights Of and Round Table Books
− Saskia Bewley, Hachette UK
− Nikola Richter, mikrotext
− Ferda Ataman, Neue deutsche Medienmacher*innen

2:00 pm, panel 2: Reaching wider audiences

In this panel speakers will explore how publishers have engaged – or failed to engage – marginalised audiences. It will consider how publishers value different types of audiences, explanations for why publishers and cultural intermediaries appear to be so disinclined to reach wider audiences, and what strategies/interventions are needed to bring certain communities from the margins into the core of publishing.

− Crystal Mahey-Morgan, OWN IT!
− Maryam Aras, Bonn University
− Shantel Edwards, Birmingham Literature Festival
− Karla Kutzner/Stefanie Hirsbrunner, InterKontinental

More information: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/projects/rethinking-diversity/