Urbantopia aims to give hope to minority voices

<p>A new publishing house will bring out books featuring individuals from ethnic minorities in a bid to help children &quot;identify&quot; with characters.</p><p>Ola Laniyan-Amoako&shy; was &quot;inspired&quot; to start her own company after reading an article on <em>The Bookseller&#39;</em>s website in which Harper&shy;Collins m.d. &shy;Amanda Ridout said: &quot;We need to source and encourage new voices&quot;. Laniyan-Amoako said that when teaching at primary schools in Hackney and Essex she saw black and ethnic minority children struggle to identify with the books available and therefore decided to set up Urbantopia. Laniyan-Amoako said she chose the name because she wanted it &quot;to be a paradise for urban writers and urban readers&quot;.</p><p>Despite the tough economic times, Laniyan-Amoako said she was not fazed by launching a company now because she believes in the necessity of providing these books. She said: &quot;I&#39;m feeling brave about it because there is a need and a demand for what I&#39;m doing.&quot;</p><p>he first title, <em>Leon&mdash;Spit on the Mic </em>will be published on 10th March. The book is the first title in The Lisson Green Chronicles,&shy; a series for teenagers set on an inner London council estate similar to where Laniyan-Amoako grew up. The second novel in the series, <em>Rianna&mdash;The Tearful Dancer</em>, is about a young dancer living with a physically abusive father and will be published on 15th October. Both titles will be published as &pound;5.99 paperbacks.</p><p>n adult title, <em>Metamorphosis</em>, will come out on 30th June as a &pound;6.99 paperback. The book is about a 20-something woman who discovers her ex-boyfriend has HIV, something that is &quot;very taboo in the black community&quot; said Laniyan-Amoako. A children&#39;s book, <em>The Tooth Collectors</em>, is scheduled for publication at the end of the year. </p><p>aniyan-Amoako has currently written all the Urbantopia novels herself. However, she said she is appealing for black and ethnic minority writers to contact her, particularly British Turkish writers, &quot;a new population in Britain who don&#39;t have a voice&quot;, she said. </p><p>ll Urbantopia titles will be available from Urbantopia&#39;s website and from Amazon. Laniyan-Amoako said she is also hoping to sell the books in Waterstone&#39;s but this is not yet confirmed by the store. </p>