Author Nikesh Shukla has been named as one of Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 Global Thinkers for 2016 for his work tackling the “unbearable whiteness of publishing”.
Shukla has been named for his work “shaking up” the “inequitable scene” of publishing, which according to a 2015 report by Spread the Word is seen by 97% of British literary agents as only “a little diverse” or “not diverse at all”.
This year, Shukla co-founded the Jhalak Prize for writers of colour and edited The Good Immigrant (Unbound), an essay collection exploring what it means to live as a minority in the UK, which won the inaugural BAMB readers award last month.
Shukla told The Bookseller that it feels “amazing” to be on the list which recognises that The Good Immigrant has had “some global impact”.
“It started off as a platform for some amazing writers and became of national importance in the run-up to and post-referendum, so to see that it's gone global, as it were... that's an incredible feeling. It shows that the toxic narrative around race and around immigration has been taken from people of colour and given to the Trumps and Farages of the world. So it feels particularly powerful that this book be shown to have a cultural impact, especially in America.”
He added: “I have to say, though, it's important that I shout out the contributors because my putting the book together aside, it's what's inside the covers that has really resonated with readers, and that is down to the words of the incredible writers. So thank you to Bim, Riz, Vinay, Nish, Musa, Chimene, Inua, L, Varaidzo, Sarah, Kieran, Reni, Coco, Vera, Salena, Daniel, Darren, Ming, Himesh and Sabrina. Books can change the world, in a variety of ways, through empowerment by means of representation, or by saying some uncomfortable truths, or just being honest and real. And I think the book does all of those things. And with the horrendous 2016 we've had, I'm glad that our book did something good in the world.”
Shukla joins names including Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and London mayor Sadiq Khan on the list.