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Study Finds Young Adult Books Becoming Less Diverse

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Young adult fiction authors in the United Kingdom have become less diverse since 2010, a Friday study reported.

Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, the study author from the University College London, found that there was a decline in Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) young adult (YA) authors in the U.K. since 2010, according to The Guardian. Bold studied YA author’s books from 2006 to 2016, according to her study published by Publishing Research Quarterly.

Bold found that out of the 8,500 books published by YA writers only eight percent of the published books were by minority writers. Bold’s study found that the number of BME YA authors dropped from 8.7 percent in 2007 to 4.79 percent in 2016. (RELATED: Archivist Steals Rare Books From Pittsburgh Carnegie Library)

She also found that 59 percent of the YA fiction authors were white females from 2006 to 2016. White men wrote another 31 percent of the books over the decade.

“Surprisingly, the number of titles written by authors of colour dropped from 2010 onwards, reaching a low in 2014 (5% of titles written by authors of colour), despite 2010-2014 being the most productive time period for YA publishing. Although publishers produced more titles during this period, they were predominantly written by white authors,” wrote Bold in the study.

Bold also found that out of the 20 bestselling books over the decade 18 featured a white, heterosexual, cisgender, and able-bodied main character.

“The publishing industry needs to engage in more sustainable action, rather than discussions, to help shift the entire publishing culture, which is clearly outdated for, and not reflective of, the communities it serves. Until this happens, these dire statistics will not change significantly,” Bold added in the study.

Bold also noted that a BME author never won The Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature. The medal received criticism for having an “all-white longlist” in 2017, Bold wrote.

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