Number of young adult writers of colour doubles to almost 20%
5 October 2020
UCL research shows improvement in diversity of YA writers but comes with warning about domination by US authors
The proportion of authors of colour writing for young adults in the UK has more than doubled in the last two years.
Research from UCL's Associate Professor Melanie Ramdarshan Bold has found that 19.6% of YA authors published in the UK in 2019 were people of colour, compared with 7.1% in 2017 and 13.25% in 2018.
The increase comes in the middle of a reckoning for the books industry. The newly formed Black Writers Guild has called on publishers to “tackle the deep-rooted racial inequalities” in big publishing houses, saying that, in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, publishers were raising awareness of racial inequality without significantly addressing their own.
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YA author Alex Wheatle, pictured with pupils at Yardleys School, Birmingham, in 2019. Photograph: Lucy Ray/PA