BAME in Publishing celebrates first birthday with free edit

BAME in Publishing celebrates first birthday with free edit

Publishing network BAME in Publishing is celebrating its first birthday by offering the opportunity for one writer hailing from a black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME) background to have their work edited by W&N publishing director Arzu Tahsin.

The network was founded last year by Sarah Shaffi, online editor and producer at The Bookseller, and Wei Ming Kam, sales and marketing assistant at Oberon Books, to help people of BAME backgrounds working in the industry come together and connect.

To celebrate the group's first birthday Tahsin, who has over 25 years of experience in the industry, is offering to edit a novel, novella or a few short stories for one author of a BAME background.

In her previous job as editorial director at Bloomsbury, Tahsin acquired Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Her list includes I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Mona Eltahawy’s Headscarves and Hymens, Leila Aboulela’s Lyrics Alley and the Orange Prize winning Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.

Kam said: "We're so pleased and really appreciate it, it's a brilliant opportunity for an upcoming British writer of colour. We'll see what else comes up, but we're always moved and happy with offers of support from people in the industry."

Entrants should not have had a book published before and should submit a short synopsis of their work alongside 200 words about themselves, and the first 20 pages of a novel or novella or one short story.

The opportunity is not restricted to members of the BAME in Publishing group and is open to all writers of a BAME background living in the UK. Submissions should be emailed to bameinpublishing@gmail.com with the subject line “Arzu edit” by 11.59pm on Friday, 23rd June 2017.

The network marked its first birthday at an event at Hachette's offices at Carmelitte House on Friday (19th May), attended by guests including literary scout Sharmaine Lovegrove, who last week was named as the head of Dialogue Books, Little, Brown’s new standalone imprint dedicated to inclusivity, and writer Sunny Singh.

Kam said of the party: "Hachette were very generous and we loved the venue. Ore [Agbaje-Williams, HarperCollins digital assistant] baked us an incredible cake and Sarah and I thanked everyone who's come to a meet up and people who've supported us."

She added: "We're really happy with the first year - I think we now have around 250 people in total on our mailing lists and we regularly get 40 - 50 people coming to each meet up, though we did get around 70 people for Friday's birthday meet up! More importantly people have said they really appreciate the space that we've made for them to network and make friends - it's been a great source of solidarity and connection.

"For the next year we want to plan some panels, both with authors and industry people, focusing on writers of colour and ways to support POC making their careers in publishing. Other plans are being developed right now..."

It was also announced that Eishar Brar, editorial assistant at Scholastic, and Ore Agbaje-Williams, HarperCollins digital assistant, are to join the network's committee to help to plan for its second year. Since it was launched the network has hosted monthly meet-ups hosted by companies including Penguin, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan, among others.