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Promoting BPOC representation and diversity in publishing

BPOC diversity is undervalued and under-represented in publishing – now more than ever BPOC writers need to be supported and represented in Scotland's literary sector.

Genre: Activism, Identity, Literature
Age group: Adults

Last updated: 12 September 2023

Please note this article contains a number of acronyms, e.g. BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic), or BPOC/BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour). We acknowledge the limitations of this terminology. Our readers and partners may identify as Black, a Person of Colour, or white, or another racial or ethnic identity, and we welcome all those who believe books, reading and writing have the power to change lives. 

Diversity in publishing

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement resurging since summer 2020, there is more need than ever for BPOC writers to be supported and represented in the literary sector in Scotland. Three significant reports have been published since then, outlining the experiences and barriers faced by BPOC writers in Scotland and the UK: 

One of the main findings of these reports is that BPOC writers and stories are undervalued and under-represented in publishing:

In somewhat brighter news, a 2022 survey of diversity, inclusion and belonging in the UK Publishing Workforce showed that, 'Representation of people from ethnic minority groups [in the publishing workforce] has increased to 17% from 15% in 2021(this link will open in a new window).'

The Publishing Association, who conducted the survey, launched their 'Inclusivity Action Plan(this link will open in a new window)' in January 2023, which commits publishers to a set of 10 strategies, including training, mentoring, and hiring practices that promote equity, diversity and inclusion across intersectional identities. 

The Plan also mandates consistent cross-industry data collection to provide a clearer, more comprehensive view of the sector, which aligns with the Association's aim for the entire publishing workforce to 'reflect national demographics at all levels.'

What Scottish Book Trust is doing

As a national charity, we deliver our life-changing programmes the length and breadth of Scotland. Our work is for everyone, but we will endeavour to do more to remove barriers to participation, support those whose voices are marginalised and ensure that everyone in Scotland understands and feels like our work is for them.

We acknowledge we have a responsibility to tackle inequalities through our programming, and that we can do as much as we can to help to create a community where everyone can thrive.

We are actively working, within our scope, remit and programmes, to embed anti-racist values and approaches within the Scottish literary sector, and to ensure the sector is inclusive of people of colour.

For more information, check out the resources publicly available on our website:

But Scottish Book Trust is committed to doing more. We are committed to embedding equalities thoroughly, to educating ourselves and making improvements. We know that this must be an ongoing process. We know our actions must speak louder than these words.

We welcome and champion BPOC readers and writers and are always open to feedback on how we can continue to improve and fight injustice with the life changing magic of books.