Children's book and app publisher, Nosy Crow, has responded to the book world's discussion on diversity in the best way possible: in requesting more submissions from BAME writers.
Nosy Crow is seeking submissions from BAME authors of books aimed at 5-12, and more specifically the 9-12 age-range, with Business Development Manager, Tom Bonnick, striking right at the heart of the matter:
Individually, we all think that of course we’d never discriminate, but at an institutional level, there are clearly problems to address. Diversity in children’s books is hugely important: not only so that children from every background can recognise their own lives and experiences in the books that they read, but also simply to enrich the body of children’s literature that we publish, by moving out of a monoculture and embracing a wider world of ideas.
Unsurprisingly (given the excellent job he's doing), author Nikesh Shukla appears to have inspired the company to actively play its part. In taking that initiative, Nosy Crow is now doing rather than talking, with Bonnick certain it's the right course of action.
We’ve always had an open submissions policy at Nosy Crow, and so this isn’t exactly a departure for us in terms of our stated position, but I think that what this particular discussion has shown me is that it’s not enough just to say that you’re happy to consider writing from anywhere: if you aren’t hearing from authors from particular backgrounds at all, you need to go out and actively court them.
Hear, hear. Nosy Crow is - we hope - the first example of a company actively pushing its 'open' policy for better representation of BAME authors and readers.
"I don’t have a grand plan in terms of what I’d like to achieve from this exercise", said Bonnick, "other than an increase in submissions from BAME writers". Yet as a process which extends well beyond Diverse December, that would indeed be a worthy achievement.