Johnny Temple is the founder of the independent Akashic Books, which is located in a converted warehouse in Brooklyn. Akashic prides itself on its eclectic mix of titles and the ethnic diversity of its authors. The company’s motto is “reverse gentrification of the literary world,” because, Temple says, they want to attract readers from all kinds of racial and economic backgrounds.
"If the industry doesn’t get more economically and ethnically diverse, it’s just going to be a pit that people are not going to be able to climb out of, as this certain cultural sphere becomes less relevant to the population at large."
What is needed, argues [Daniel José] Older, is an industrywide conversation that looks honestly at the role race and class play in the business of publishing.
"Everyone in the industry needs to be able to step back from their privilege, step back from defensiveness, and have conversations about how the industry and them being in their place of privilege in the industry is causing literature itself and writers in general to not be thriving in the way that it could be."
—Lynn Neary, NPR Code Switch
What great food for thought to turn into action.
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