The Billion-Dollar Romance Fiction Industry Has A Diversity Problem

Books stacked in a library. The Romance Writers Association issued a statement earlier this week criticizing their own history of excluding black authors from RITA prizes. The romance genre is a juggernaut that continues unabated. It’s a billion dollar industry that outperforms all other book genres, and it’s remarkably innovative, with a strong tradition of independent and self-publishing. It’s also an industry that’s been grappling with a diversity problem. The RITA Award , the top honor for romance writers awarded by the Romance Writers of America, was awarded this week, and the organization acknowledged that in its 36-year history, no black author has ever won the prize. According to the RWA’s own research, black authors have written less than half of 1 percent of the total number of books considered as prize finalists. "It is impossible to deny that this is a serious issue and that it needs to be addressed," said the organization in a statement . "Educating everyone about these statistics is the first step in trying to fix this problem. We know there are no perfect solutions but ignoring the issue is that not acceptable." There’s certainly no lack of black readership: A Pew Research survey […]

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