A survey conducted by the DSC South Asian Literature Festival, in association with The Bookseller suggests that the industry is failing South Asian readers.
A small proportion of just 2% of South Asian respondents stated there were sufficient books in the South Asian category suggesting that there needs to be a diverse range of books available written in the genre. Whilst writers from South Asian backgrounds have done well in literary prizes in recent years, the survey highlights that this sort of literary fiction does not generally appeal to the typical South Asian reader. The most significant problem seems to be a lack of easy access. This was concluded by an analysis of the buying habits of consumers. A notable 89% of South Asians, compared to just 13% of white respondents, have difficulty in obtaining books with a South Asian influence, either because they’re not easy to find in shops, or simply because they’re not stocked.
It seems that the publishing industry is partly to blame. A third of publisher respondents and over half of agent respondents said that only 1-2% of authors they represented were South Asian.
Jon Slack, Festival Director said: “There’s a thriving literary scene around South Asian culture, both on the subcontinent and in Britain, yet access to this amazing wealth of writing remains a big issue for many communities.”