The Bookseller is calling on trade to complete a survey into how class is a barrier to entry into writing and publishing.
The online questionnaire aims to explore the difficulties faced by those from working class backgrounds becoming an author or working in the books trade. It also seeks to discover what is currently helping make the industry more diverse in this respect, and what more could be done.
There have been repeated calls to help make the sector more inclusive to all backgrounds, regardless of financial situation or class, but publishing remains a predominantly wealthy industry. Last April a report into representation in the arts revealed a "class pay gap" in publishing of up to £23,000 a year and found that people of working class origins make up just 12.6% of the sector. The review into creative diversity entitled ‘Panic! 2018 – It’s an Arts Emergency!’ called the situation in publishing "especially grave".
Meanwhile in November 2017 Penguin Random House chief executive Tom Weldon called on the industry to grasp the “really urgent commercial imperative” of reflecting working class experiences in books and “sick” at the lack of working class people in publishing. He discussed the lack of diversity in literature in a Radio 4 documentary, "Where Are All the Working Class Writers", presented by Kit De Waal.
Hearing the programme prompted author Carmen Marcus to form a working class writers’ collective the following month and a year on, Marcus has unveiled ‘The Writer’s Plan’ (published on The Bookseller blog today) to help working class writers support and mentor each other.
To take part in the research, please complete the survey using this link, by 12 noon on Tuesday 19th February.
The results will be published online and in the magazine.
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