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In the US, three of the Big Five publishers have pledged to diversify their workforce and publish more Black authors, following a collective action to protest the industry’s role in systemic racism.

In a letter to staff, the Penguin Random House US (PRH) board acknowledged it must do more to diversify its workforce and the types of books it publishes.

“Our company and our industry haven’t published enough works by authors of color,” said Peguin Random House board.

“We can, and must, do much more, and in particular, we must live up to our goal of publishing books for all readers.”

The actions Peguin Random House will take include making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative; increasing the company’s donation to We Need Diverse Books; making its anti-racism training mandatory for all employees; sharing statistics related to its workforce demographics with employees; and conducting an audit of its publishing programs.

Hachette Book Group’s executive management board announced it will expand its current initiatives for increasing diversity at the company. The planned initiatives include sharing metrics on staff and list diversity with employees; setting goals for diverse hiring and publishing; and expanding its unconscious bias training.

“These broad diversity initiatives will include specific actions to support the discovery and publication of Black voices and the recruitment and hiring of Black applicants,” a Hachette spokesperson said.

In a statement noting that Simon & Schuster agrees with its employees on the need for change, a spokesperson for the publisher said: “We are committed to working with our employees, authors and the publishing community to make our company and our industry a safe and inclusive environment for all, and a publisher of works that represent the breadth and depth of our diverse population”.

Source: Books + Publishing