The Bookseller’s survey into class was discussed on BBC Radio 4’s “The Today Programme” this morning (25th February), with author Kerry Hudson welcoming the data.
The results of the survey from more than 1,600 respondents showed that around 80% reporting from working class backgrounds felt excluded from publishing, citing issues such as internships, the focus on London, courses and "lack[ing] cultural shorthand". Many senior figures from publishers and trade bodies responded to the findings with concern, outlining steps they were taking to make things more inclusive.
Meanwhile Hudson was one of many to call for reform in the industry on BBC Radio 4's "The Today Programme".
Hudson, who described her working class roots in memoir Lowborn (Chatto) told the show's presenter John Humphrys: "I really welcome the survey because it’s finally giving us data and accountability for something that I think many people have known isn a problem for a long time.”
When asked by Humphrys if it was a question of access, she said: “Yes, I think so, if you think about most publishing jobs – a lot of them are gained by unpaid internships and it’s very London-centric, one of the most expensive cities in the world and often you have to do several unpaid internships to get any job in publishing. People from working class backgrounds just can’t afford to do that."
On Twitter, comments called for change in the industry in the wake of the survey.
Marketing and publicity director at Simon & Schuster UK Polly Osborn said: "If there are any schools in deprived areas/ with large nos of pupil premium / with high ratio of free school meals who want someone to come and talk about careers in books and publishing. I'm more than happy to. And I'm sure I could find mates too if there was interest.”
Her post has been retweeted 120 times and she followed up by saying: "I feel a plan of action is required to help link up publishers and schools… I will be in contact with everyone shortly."
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