The question of whether diversity is adequately supported within the Australian Publishing Industry—particularly as it relates to First Nations and POC writers—remains unanswered in the form of statistical research. The First FNPOC Count would seek to count the number of books (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, children’s lit and YA) by First Nations and POC writers published in 2018.
The lack of diverse publications has been increasingly highlighted and challenged internationally in recent years. In the US in 2011 in the New York Times, 88% were published by Caucasian authors, and in the UK, only 8% of people in publishing came from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The same trends are easily observable in Australia, but there is no comprehensive data to back this up. This project seeks to find out how many First Nations writers and Writers of Colour were published in 2018 and will cost $36,868.91 to fund.
The Crack Team
Dr Natalie Kon-yu (Writer and Academic)
Professor Tony Birch (Author and Academic)
Dr Ambelin Kwaymullina (Author and Academic)
Dr Tresa LeClerc (Writer and Academic)
Rebecca Lim (Author and Lawyer)
Alison Whittaker (Author and Academic)
Hella Ibrahim (Djed Press Editorial Director)
Jasmeet Sahi (Creative Producer)
Marisa Wikramanayake (Freelance journalist, Editor and Writer)
Jackie Tang (Bookseller)
We propose using a combination of:
• Nielsen Bookscan data;
• for POC writers, an author survey to examine if they identify as POC; and
• for First Nations writers, a culturally appropriate process including self-identification in author biographies
Funding will cover the costs of the survey, access to Nielsen Bookscan, the payment of researchers and advisors to critically inform the survey, and the compilation of a final report based on the project results. Results will be published through MEAA, Djed and Peril Magazine.
This research will provide much needed demographic data on the industry. This will be a resource for future researchers, and for industry-wide organisations to get a better sense of the current landscape. It will also function as a jumping off point for more qualitative analysis on cultural diversity within the industry. The results of this study will inform publishing practices to provide greater opportunities for publication of First Nations and POC writers to develop their practice.
Stories by First Nations writers and Writers of Colour matter. Increasingly we are living in a time in which we see narratives about minorities rather than narratives by minorities. In contemporary Australian culture we are seeing a rise in the rhetoric of ‘otherness’ attached to ideologies of culture and race. Writing back to the centre matters, and it matters now. This is the radical potential of words.