HarperNorth scoops book on structural racism by Afzal

HarperNorth scoops book on structural racism by Afzal

HarperNorth has scooped a book on structural racism by former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal.

Senior commissioning editor Jonathan de Peyer acquired world all language rights for The Race to the Top: Structural Racism and How to Fight It directly from the author. The book will publish in hardback, e-book and audio in September 2022.

Afzal was the first Muslim to be appointed as a chief crown prosecutor and the most senior Muslim lawyer in the Crown Prosecution Service. He was the subject of the most recent "Desert Island Discs" on BBC Radio 4.

A synopsis for the book says: "Afzal knows what it’s like to break the glass ceiling, challenge prejudice and shake up predominantly white institutions, and his insights into the UK’s relationship with race and power have driven him to demand answers to an age-old question around Britain’s diversity failings: why does ethnic minority talent continue to be sidelined?

"The Race to the Top directs Afzal’s unrivalled investigative skills towards one of society’s most pressing problems, offering an ambitious set of recommendations for root-and-branch systemic change to bring about a generational transformation in Britain’s professions and the upper echelons of our leadership. As Britain becomes more diverse, why do so many of our leaders come from the same narrow pool? Can it be acceptable in 2021 that there are no ethnic minority chief constables, no c.e.o.s in the top 50 NHS trusts and no permanent secretaries in the civil service? Presenting an ambitious blueprint to unlock Britain’s hidden potential, Afzal hears from influential ethnic minority leaders to discover the hurdles they had to overcome and what changes are needed to make a difference."

De Peyer said: "Nazir Afzal is an exceptional communicator with limitless energy, an unimpeachable public platform, and a campaigning zeal that will generate huge attention for this most pressing of issues. Nazir’s command of detail, facility for clear and precise expression, and the size of his network, combined with the breadth and depth of the interviews and research in this book, will make it the defining intervention on this subject. I’m proud to be publishing it."

Afzal added: "The last year has shone a powerful light on racial inequality across Britain and asked important questions around how we make a fairer country based on equal treatment and equal opportunity. But too much of our debate is mired in crude culture wars, and not nearly enough attention has been paid to the most important engine of change—which, of course, is leadership. Real and lasting change always starts from the top and, as long as ethnic minority talent continues to be side-lined, then I fear we will continue to be a country that wrings our hands and focuses on well-meaning gestures rather than tackling the prejudice holding back Britain. Above all else, this book is a rallying cry to welcome a new wave of diverse leadership talent that Britain desperately needs."