Lack of diversity in Australian publishing

Jun 10, 2020 | News & Articles

“If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else” – Toni Morrison

Like everyone, I have been shocked and horrified by the violent racial discrimination exploding once again in the US, and shamed and horrified by the ongoing racial discrimination here in Australia. I have not been silent about it, but I know there is always more I could be doing to help stop the discrimination.

In my industry of publishing, there is some acknowledgment of the lack of diversity in what is published, with earnest attempts to redress the balance, but much more, of course, needs to be done.

As an agent, I believe stories have the power to make a difference, and while I have been looking for diverse stories and authors since I started, I want to make it clear that despite my officially closed submissions, the door is always open to authors from different backgrounds to the mainstream of Australia – First Nations, authors of colour, authors from different cultures, neurotypical authors, authors with disability, authors from varied socio-economic circumstances. I want a great story, told well. I want stories that will change the world for the better. And I want to work with authors who have those stories.

Saying that, we can’t admit the unequal representation of diverse authors, without also confronting the publishing industry itself is even more lacking in diversity.  So, for what it is worth, if any people of colour, First Nations, or anyone outside neurotypical, affluent, white suburban Australia wants to chat about career options in the publishing industry and ways to break in, please get in touch and I would love to find time for a call or email.

There are some amazing groups and initiatives trying to support diversity in the publishing industry, so I’m just adding my voice to offer advice if it might be helpful to anyone.  Please get in touch if this might be you. I’m not in a position to be hiring anyone, but talking about the industry I love, its problems and joys, is some small thing I can do.

  • If you’re interesting in chatting about a career in publishing, email me at alexadsett[@]alexadsett.[com.]au.
  • If you’re an author who fits the submission criteria, please following the submission guidelines here and email agent[@]alexadsett.[com.]au.

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