Over the last few years, a wealth of books, documenting conversations concerning race, identity, misogynoir and more, oversaturated the UK’s literary sphere as publishers rushed to participate in the broadcasting, and thus the capitalising, of BAME narratives. The similarity that each publication of this nature bore to the other has led me to question whether struggle narratives – narratives that explore and document the negative experience(s) of BAME people - have become the literary standard for BAME writers wanting to be published? Have publishers coerced BAME writers into a position of compromise, one where which our only narrative voice is one filled with struggle and complication, as opposed to allowing us to swim in a pool of diverse narratives that explore life beyond race, identity and belonging?
We have seen successful publications such as Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge, Slay In Your Lane – Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uvienbiene, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging – Afua Hirsch, The Good Immigrant – Nikesh Shukla and more, reach a mass readership and audience, and dominate the UK literary market. However, although the mentioned titles are important, could the constant campaigning of narratives like those listed above be limiting to our narrative potential? For years, publishers have questioned and complained about the lack of commercial value that BAME narratives possess, yet UK publishers – for some time now - have profited off our problems as opposed to selling the solution(s) – which in this case would be commercial and genre fiction not concerning the political nature of BAME people.