According to Charlotte Gill in the Telegraph, U.K. literary agencies are prioritising authors from ‘under-represented’ communities, such as people of colour and LGBTQ+ individuals, over those considered ‘privileged’. Here’s an excerpt:
An investigation by the Telegraph has found examples of literary agencies making clear their preference for authors deemed under-represented or marginalised – normally meaning people of colour, disabled writers and those from the LGBTQ+ community – prompting concern that authors who do not meet the criteria are becoming “ostracised”.
Ash Literary, an agency looking “for extraordinary stories for children that reflect and celebrate the diversity of our world”, states on its submissions page: “We are not interested in stories about white able-bodied WW2 evacuees but would welcome that story from a disabled, LGBTQ+ or BIPOC [black, indigenous and other people of colour] perspective.”
It adds: “If your book is about an identity that is not yours, we will not be a good fit. This includes books based [sic] the experiences of family members and friends.”
The Good Literary Agency, which receives funding from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio 2023-26, was set up “to explicitly represent British writers from backgrounds under-represented in U.K. publishing”. It lists jobs that ask for applicants who understand “the issues within publishing and society more generally that have led to structural inequality and writers who are BAME, working class, disabled and LGBTQ+ being under-represented”.
Julie Gourinchas from Bell Lomax Moreton, which represents authors and illustrators, says she is “interested in hearing from authors traditionally under-represented in the industry, including but not restricted to writers of colour; queer, trans and nonbinary writers; working class writers; disabled writers; etc.”