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  • Writer's pictureAnnabelle Steele

Open Letter to publishing houses.

I was asked by Hashtag Blak Publishing company to contribute to an open letter to publishing houses speaking about inclusivity and diversity within the industry. The letter has contributions from a number of authors was picked up by the French Press.

Scroll down to see my contribution...

ANNABELLE STEELE, author of Being Amani

Growing up I wasn't inspired by Black authors because I wanted to read the books that my friends were reading or the books that my teachers had recommended but they weren't books by Black Authors or books with Black characters. Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman, was the one book that I remember reading by a Black author that my friends and my teachers were reading and recommending too. As wonderful as it was having them celebrate an author that looked like me, this shouldn't be the case. I shouldn't be able to remember the ONE book by a Black author that I read while in school. I should have a long list of books by Black authors that I read as a child. Agents and larger publishing houses should be doing more than publishing the occasional Black author as a token gesture or while it's trending and popular. They should be seeking out, pushing and promoting inspirational stories by Black authors as part of their normal practice. When I wrote Being Amani, I was conscious of not wanting to portray Black trauma as Black people have other stories to tell. Instead, I aimed to share a story about a Black girl who wasn't strong, steely and aggressive, but a story about a Black girl who is finding herself, finding love and growing up. I aimed to share the type of story that I enjoyed reading when I was growing up, the type of story that never had characters that looked like me! #diversevoice needs to be much more than just a hashtag. 

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