Check out the official site of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, HERE.
After yesterday’s post where our experts gave us a GREAT reading list of diverse books to get stuck into, I asked them what they’d like to see NEXT from diverse books … Enjoy!
1) Jessica Reid, Legend Press. For more of diverse books to get noticed and receive the praise they deserve!
2) Oli Munson, Literary Agent, AM Heath. I’d like to see more literature representing the modern African experience IN Africa, not just the diaspora. Genuine African settings which avoid clichés LIKE THESE.
3) Paula Daly, Author. I would love to see a greater range of people and settings. Particularly the inclusion of some strong, funny working class women. One of the greatest things about writing crime is that you have access to all sections of society. If a crime is committed everyone involved is laid bare. I would love to see authors taking more risks with the people they write about and not just stick to what they know.
4) Alison Bonami, Literary Agent, LBA. I want to read very commercial fiction across all genres: plot-driven stories with great characters who live in believable, involving worlds. There’s no question that authors from diverse backgrounds are grossly under-represented as writers of the kind of books I’m interested in. The unsolicited manuscripts we receive from BAME writers tend to be mostly literary fiction, which is frustrating for me as it’s not a field that really interests me. However, I am working with an Asian crime writer whom I hope could one day sit alongside the British crime greats, but who brings an extra dimension from his background. If I could help to get him published, I’d be very happy.
5) Stevie Turner, Author. What I would like to read are more novels based in realistic settings, without the protagonist’s genitals and sex life being in the forefront of the story. I’d love to read twisting, turning, realistic plots that make me think. I don’t care what nationality the protagonist is, just as long as we can perhaps imagine that they might have a sex life rather than being subject to every gasp and grunt!
6) Mary Evans, Author. I would love to see every manner of diversity more evident in children’s fiction and ensure that every child has a literary hero with whom they can identify.
7) Sam Copeland, Literary Agent, RCW Literary Agency. People should just be concentrating on creating the best fiction they can. As long as the structures are in place that diverse literature can be published, which I believe them to be, then people should just be concentrating on creating the most rounded characters they can, irrelevant of race.
8) Wendy Storer, author. I’d like to see more primary and secondary characters with physical and mental limitations (we all have them); more LGBT diversity; more multi-cultural characters; different family set-ups … Basically, more true to life characters who are ‘different’. Not only because every child deserves to have their lives represented in a book but because it’s enlightening and educational (in the broadest sense) for everyone. I like to think that a better understanding of other peoples’ lives leads to a more tolerant and compassionate world.
9) Elinor Perry-Smith, proofreader. In terms of what I’d like to see, it has to be more challenging stories about the realities, difficulties and felicities surrounding people with disabilities – particularly learning disabilities. I’m tired of stories where the disabled person is seen as an inspiration – or worse – shows a normal the error of their ways. If no one’s seen it yet, check out a Korean film called ‘Oasis’. The perfect example of what I mean, though I’m not sure if that was adapted from a book. Learning disabilities, sexuality and autonomy also seems an underexplored area.
10) Julie Mayhew, Author. I’d like to read more books abut the lower-middle classes. We see the working, middle and upper classes glorified and mocked in equal measure in literature, but it feels odd that the group of people that make up the mainstay of British society are rarely deemed to be interesting enough. Melon and her mum Maria in my book, Red Ink fit into this group.
11) Rosie Claverton, Author. More, more more! I want to see more people of colour in historical and fantasy fiction, like the brilliant job BBC’s The Musketeers did with Porthos’ character and the kind of representation Medieval POC’s Tumblr shouts about every day. I want to see people living and working with disabilities and mental health problems, not just depicted as victims or perpetrators or crime. I want to see LGBT stories were people are incidentally gay, bi, trans, and queer, and it’s the not the be-all and end-all of the story. And I want to see more books written by diverse groups of people that aren’t about the topics that make them “diverse”.
12) Hannah Shepphard, DHH Literary Agency. I’d love to see books reflecting the world around us with a bit more authenticity so that everyone can find themselves reflected in the fiction they read. It’s about looking at what unites us all not what makes us different in a lot of ways. The universal themes that make stories popular apply to everyone.
13) Madhuri Blaylock, author. I would simply like to see more! More diversity, more diverse authors, more diverse publishers, more diverse agents. Basically, a move in the direction that is more reflective of life in general. We live in a diverse world, so it would be nice to also live in a diverse reading world. It would be nice when we no longer need to have this conversation, but I’m not sure that will ever happen so until then, I’ll keep supporting the organization We Need Diverse Books and their programs, I will keep writing my own work, and supporting the work of other diverse authors, both traditionally and independently published.
PREVIOUSLY: 13 Experts Share Their Notable Diverse Book Recommendations. A great reading list, here!
More Diverse books:
The Decision Series confronts a female protagonist with ALL the potential outcomes of a single dilemma. Click the pic for more details or read excerpts from the novels by clicking the titles: The Decision: Lizzie’s Story; The Decision: Jasmine’s Story.
Totally agree with Julie Mayhew – one of the things that really struck me about The Inbetweeners (and later, My Big Fat Mad Diary) was that it was so rare to see average people portrayed in British culture. Not posh, not working class, just average lower middle class people living in boring suburbs, like most of us.