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The Jhalak Prize

uczcwtu31 January 2018

The second annual Jhalak Prize is upon us! The Jhalak Prize was founded in 2017, and celebrates the best books by British and British resident BAME writers, and awards one writer £1000. The first book to win the Jhalak Prize was Jacob Ross’ The Bone Readers.

Started by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla and Media Diversified, with support from The Authors’ Club and a prize donated by an anonymous benefactor, the prize exists to celebrate the achievements of British writers of colour.

Excitingly, the 2018 longlist has recently been announced! It includes:

John Agard, Come All You Little Persons (Faber)

Nadeem Aslam, The Golden Legend (Faber)

Jeffrey Boakye, Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials and the Meaning of Grime (Influx Press)

Sita Brahmachari, Worry Angels (Barrington Stoke)

Kayo Chongonyi, Kumakanda (Chatto & Windus)

Yrsa Daley-Ward, Bone (Penguin)

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I ‘m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury Circus)

Xialou Guo, Once Upon a Time in the East (Chatto & Windus)

Meena Kandasamy, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife (Atlantic Books)

Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Island at the End of Everything (Chicken House)

Leone Ross, Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree Press)

Preti Taneja, We That Are Young (Galley Beggar Press)

This longlist was chosen by the all-female judging panel, which includes writer Sunny Singh, YA author Catherine Johnson, novelist Tanya Byrne, writer and performer Vera Chok and travel writer and journalist Noo Saro-Wiwa.

Judge Vera Chok spoke about the prize: “An incredible thing about the Jhalak Prize is that it’s open across genres. I’ve been especially delighted to discover writers of colour beyond literary fiction and memoir, making their mark in the fields of non-fiction, children’s writing, and experimental forms.”

The shortlist will be announced on the 20th of February, and the winner will be announced on the 15th March 2018.

Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference 2017

uczcmsm15 November 2017

Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference Room

On Monday (13th November) the London Book Fair and the Publisher’s Association held the second Inclusivity in Publishing Conference. The day was insightful and motivating, filled with interesting and inspiring panel members. The aim of the day was to address the diversity issues in the industry with a big emphasis on what we can do to move forwards! A quick summary of the day goes:

 

Managing Disability in the Workplace

Kiren Shoman – SAGE Publishing (Chair), Andie Gbedeman and Mark Brooke – Dimensions UK, Vicki Partridge – Books Beyond Words

We need to move away from the misconceptions regarding what people are capable of and look at what every individual can offer. The recruitment process needs to be flexible; for example, working interviews are less intimidating for people with learning disabilities. Training can be provided for employees to help them communicate with colleagues who may communicate differently to them, including using pictures, accessible easy-read documents and ‘Listen-Up’ training. It is vital to provide positive narratives about people with disabilities in children’s books and not to make disability the focus.

 

Keynote: Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Creative Industries

Different perspectives are invaluable in such a diverse country. Positively, new imprints are emerging that are focused on diversity and schemes have been setup to improve diversity in entry level roles. A theme that continued throughout the day was the economic benefit of diversity. ‘Diversity is opening the door. Inclusion is inviting people through it’.

 

Mirroring Inclusivity – How Role Models are Building an Inclusive Industry

Simon Dawson-Collins and Nancy Adimora – HarperCollins

Role models need to reflect the diversity in society so that all young people can see themselves mirrored in higher roles. To ensure this happens, there need to be lots of different people involved in the recruitment process. They also mentioned the importance of talking about diversity. For our industry this will both develop a more diverse readership and the ability to understand and reach them in the employment force. Unconscious bias training should be given to recruitment employees, and to as many members of staff as possible.

 

Looks Like Me

Selma Nicholls

Selma told us the story of her daughter feeling out of place in society and not considering herself beautiful because of the images she was bombarded with everyday. Selma, passionately and proactively, then told us what she has done to change this. Looks Like Me is a talent and casting agency that strives to create imagery that reflects all young people. They work with many companies and started the incredible campaign: #sowhiteproject. She invited us to be the change we want to see, a call for all of us to address injustice.

 

Getting Writers from Minorities Published – Supply Chain Challenges

Chris Gribble – Writer’s Centre Norwich (Chair), Sharmaine Lovegrove – Dialogue Books, Emma Paterson – Rogers, Coleridge & White, Monica Parle – First Story.

There needs to be a genuine desire to make diversity happen. It’s not about the industry doing BAME citizens a favour, it’s about what they can do for us. The panel discussed ways in which we can achieve truly publishing for the whole of society: being less London-centric and making jobs more transparent (so people know of the abundant roles in publishing and can strive for them). We should look forward to the day that this conversation can end.

 

Audience Development: British Asian Community

Abir Makherjee

As a British Asian, Abir Makherjee says that we must change to cater to the demands of this changing society. As an accountant, Abir was appalled by how much further ahead the finance industry are in battling this issue. Paying for diverse talent is not an expense, it is an investment. We need to see growth in genre fiction from BAME writers, to extend marketing into other channels, to forge links with key community organisations, to take minority authors into schools and societies. Publishers need to be more culturally aware.

 

Broadening Inclusivity in Entry-Level Recruitment in Publishing

Nancy Roberts – Business Inclusivity (Chair), Linas Alsenas – Pride in Publishing, Heidi Mulvey – Cambridge University Press, Siena Parker – Penguin Random House

This panel discussed the ways in which their companies are trying to increase diversity. CUP have created many apprenticeship roles for people leaving school. Penguin Random House have started a randomised work experience program to give everyone an equal opportunity. They also now use video interviews and other technologies for the recruitment process to focus on talent rather than ‘type’ of person. Linas Alsenas has recently created ‘Pride in Publishing’ which aims to create a networking and social space for LGBTQ+ employees.

 

Diverse City

Jamie Beddard

Working in the arts industry, Jamie described how storytelling is key to: understanding, empathy, contextualising and re-imaging. We need to be telling untold stories and listen to unheard voices to develop a more inclusive and understanding society. We need to value people’s differences.

 

June Sarpong in conversation with Razia Iqbal

Razia and June discussed June Sarpong’s new book, Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration, and her career in the media industry. June addressed how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Her book not only addresses issues of race but also age, disability and gender. To hear more from June herself I would recommend listening to the CTRL, ALT, DEL podcast here.

 

The day finished with a presentation from Equal Approach on what they can do to help our industry diversify and company and individual’s pledges to address this issue and move forward, hopefully ending the discussion altogether.

 

To see more follow #inclusivityconf2017

MA Publishing Students at Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference

BME staff in library and information science profession

Anne Welsh9 April 2009

A new report commissioned from the Department’s CIBER research group by CILIP in London has been co-authored by Pete Williams, and is available for download:

Peter Williams and David Nicholas. Exploring the low representation of Black and Minority Ethnic staff
in the library and information science profession: case study of London: a study by CIBER, UCL commissioned by CILIP in London. [pdf]. UCL, 2009
.

Pete was awarded an Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Research Studentship for 2008-2009.

(A version of this item was originally posted to the UCL DIS News & Events page by D.J. Clarke)

Image: Pete’s departmental webpage