Book Chapter

Too Much Rushdie, not enough Romance?: The UK Publishing Industry and BME (Black Minority Ethnic) Readership



Squires C (2012) Too Much Rushdie, not enough Romance?: The UK Publishing Industry and BME (Black Minority Ethnic) Readership. In: Procter J, Benwell B & Robinson G (eds.) Postcolonial Audiences: Readers, Viewers, Reception. Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 99-111.

First paragraph: The UK publishing industry in the twenty-first century is one populated by high-profile, multicultural authors. Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru, Andrea Levy and Zadie Smith have enjoyed critical and commercial success, building on the literary and marketplace achievements of postcolonial writers such as Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri and Arundhati Roy. Postcolonial and multicultural writers, and novels with multicultural characters and with postcolonial themes, have been foregrounded by the mechanisms of the industry: its marketing activities; its literary awards; and by the literary media. Yet how does the British publishing industry cater for multicultural consumers, or, in the acronym predominantly used in official UK discourse, a BME (Black Minority Ethnic) readership?1 Using industry data and surveys, this chapter explores this question with regards to content, genre and access to reading material, and analyses how the operation of the book trade, and demographics of industry workers, might affect readership. It also considers whether the visibility of multicultural literary authors has inflected the production and consumption of works towards an exoticising mode which, it is argued, does not encompass diversity of writing and reading practices, including in terms of genre.

Title of seriesRoutledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures
Publication date31/12/2012
Publisher URL
Place of publicationAbingdon

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Professor Claire Squires
Professor Claire Squires

Professor in Publishing Studies, English Studies