12 Women Of Color Authors You Need To Know This Year
Whether you call it an issue of diversity or equity, the publishing industry disturbingly, undeniably is white-washed. In January, a study by Lee and Low books showed that 79 percent of the publishing workforce is white and 78 percent identify as female (but if you work in publishing, this is not a shock to hear). Adding on, Brooklyn magazine recently published a comprehensive article called “You Will Be Tokenized: Speaking Out About the State of Diversity in Publishing,” in which 50 people across the book world (from writers to editors to literary agents) give their thoughts about this problem and share their striking stories of how it has affected them. From backhanded comments to deep-set racism, the article is filled with haunting examples of how inhospitable the industry is to people of color.
From Marlon James to Mira Jacob, authors worldwide have been speaking out about the dangerous effects of the publishing industry’s lack of diversity. There’s a twisted and pervasive notion out there that a) only white audiences buy books and b) that white audiences only want to read white voices. Not only is this complete BS, but it’s stifling many opportunities for great literature to be experienced. As a reader, I don’t want to read the same viewpoint over and over again. I want to dive into every perspective out there. I want to walk in other people’s shoes and make discoveries. I want every voice I can get.
No matter what position you’re in — whether you read for pleasure or you’re an executive at one of the big five publishing houses — it’s past time we stop buying into the myth that only white voices sell. Let’s enthusiastically celebrate the talent of people of color. Because truthfully, there are many authors of color out there who are absolutely killing it. Below, you’ll find a sampling of the women of color who are making waves with brilliant new books this year. Get reading, you don’t want to miss out.