#DiverseDecember

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for some time might remember that in 2015 I co-ran a reading project / campaign called Diverse December. Well, it’s happening again this year and I would love you to join in.

#DiverseDecember is a month of reading and recommending books by Black, brown and indigenous writers. It is an opportunity to discover new books, to consider our reading habits and to make a permanent change in what we choose to read.

The campaign was created in 2015 by Dan Lipscombe in response to an all-white list for World Book Night. This year, I’m running it in reaction to the pledges many of us made to do better following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

How do you join in? Read and recommend at least one book by a Black, brown or indigenous writer during December. Use the hashtag #DiverseDecember so your recommendations can be seen and shared.

You can also follow the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. On those channels, over the next week, I’ll be highlighting some of the publishers, organisations and individuals who’ve been doing this work for some time. Follow, listen, support them. 

FAQs

Why are you – a white person – running this?

Because I don’t believe that the burden of encouraging white people to read books by Black, brown and indigenous writers should keep falling on Black, brown and indigenous people. Because I love books and want to shout about all the superb ones by Black, brown and indigenous writers. If you’re not reading books by these writers, you’re missing out on some of the best writing and that’s a real shame. 

Won’t the best books rise to the top anyway? 

Unfortunately, in an industry dominated by middle class white people at all levels, this often isn’t the case, particularly when it comes to books written by Black, brown and indigenous writers. Spread the Word’s recent report ‘Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing’ highlighted several of the issues. They included the idea that ‘publishers fear that books by writers of colour are too niche and will not appeal to their core audience’. That ‘a narrow conception of [the industry’s] audience makes it harder for books by ‘BAME’ writers to break out as resources are distributed according to how well a book is expected to ‘perform’, and that ‘the monoculturalism of the decision makers [i.e. major retail outlet buyers] poses an obstacle to the backing of books by ‘BAME’ authors’. You can read the full report HERE.

Shouldn’t diversity include LGBTQ+, working class and disabled people?

Yes and there are Black, brown and indigenous writers who are also LGBTQ+ / working class / disabled. White writers who are LGBTQ+ / working class / disabled still have white privilege. This campaign was specifically created due to racial imbalance and that continues to be its focus.

Why are you using the term Black, brown and indigenous writers?

To try and be as inclusive as possible. It is difficult to select a term which encompasses the diverse backgrounds and identities of the many individuals included in this group.

28 thoughts on “#DiverseDecember

  1. I love this! I will definitely join in. I have read a few books this year, by non white writers, but not as many as I would like. One of my contenders for my books of the year list is a novel called Brown Girl Brownstones by Paule Marshall, another Passing and Quicksand. I have so many books tbr that I am glad to have a push toward reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just been alerted to this by my good friend (Heaven-) Ali and it looks great (also I didn’t know your blog and have now added you to my Feedly reader). Presumably non-fiction is permitted here, too? I have a few books on my TBR which would work – I am currently reading The Good Immigrant UK and have the US version, which features a number of women (or does it need to be ALL women?) and some others, for example Loud Black Women which is the follow-up to the amazing Slay in Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke.

    Like

    • Hi Liz, lovely to make your virtual acquaintance! Thank you. Literally the only requirement is that the book needs to have been written by a Black, brown or indigenous writer. Feel free to read and recommend books by men – I will be doing so on the social media channels. Here all my recs will be by womxn. Both books you mention are brilliant. Looking forward to hearing what you think of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Why are you – a white person – running this?” “Won’t the best books rise to the top anyway ”

    To me, Publishers, in all their wisdom, go where the demand and money is. At the moment the focus is on the white middle class reader. If the white reader goes “actually, i’m not going to spend All of my money on white middle class men, I’m spending my money on something a little more diverse”, then perhaps, just perhaps, the publishers, buyers and booksellers will pay attention

    Liked by 1 person

      • I will admit that with the drop in my own reading, I have drawn in on the types of book, and therefore authors I am willing or prepared to read. Much as I love the pile of Persephone Greys sitting unread in the corner, and my support of the British Library Crime series (wonderful Golden age crime, with nary a woman or a BAME person between them, lol), I’ve put my money where my mouth is and just subscribed to the Peirene Press mentioned below (I believe it’s Iceland next year, somewhere I’ve not read!)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If nothing else, i’m going to add a subscription to Peirene Press as a Christmas pressie.This a small publisher (already someone to support!), who publish little known books translated into English. By definition, the authors wont be English speakers; a subscription supports the publisher the author and the translator; and a subscription allows for the continued investment for all.

    Even if I dont purchase a book, I mention them at every opportunity on SM, as it takes little time on my part, but I never know when one mention could get another supporter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having had the opportunity to visit some of the antebellum house while I was working in America I found The Cutting Season by Attica Locke a interesting recounter of how the estates worked along with a gripping plot that was easy reading.
    I also enjoyed My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

    Liked by 1 person

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