It is no secret that many industries in the UK lack diversity, and the world of book publishing is certainly no exception. Riddled with what is often referred to as ‘The Amanda Problem’, the book publishing industry in the UK is dominated by the voices of white middle-class women. Although front-facing representation for black authors has sky-rocketed post-pandemic in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the same cannot be said for those who control the output of these voices behind the scenes.
In June 2020, the Black Writers Guild demanded that a radical change in the industry was needed, calling out the “deep-rooted racial inequalities in the major corporate publishing companies”. This highlighted how the absence of black commissioners and editors who can better understand the nuanced life experiences of black people is limiting the ability of publishers to seek out black stories and market them to audiences successfully.