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KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Racism: Alive and Well in Publishing

Liar, by Justine LarbalestierThis is a tale of damnable, ridiculous book-cover racism by a publisher.

Publishers Weekly reports on the industry's response, which is bogus.

If it makes you as angry as it does me that the publisher, Bloomsbury, thinks book covers featuring white people sell better than those featuring black people and so put a white girl on the cover of a book about a girl who is "black with nappy hair," as the author describes her, e-mail Bloomsbury's public relations department to say so.

Updated at 4:00 p.m., 8/6/09: I'm happy to report an update: Because of the public outcry and the author's unhappiness, the book's publisher says it will rejacket the U.S. version of the book:

"... This week Bloomsbury officials have switched course. 'We regret that our original creative direction for Liar—which was intended to symbolically reflect the narrator's complex psychological makeup—has been interpreted by some as a calculated decision to mask the character's ethnicity,' Bloomsbury officials said in a statement to [Publishers Weekly]. 'In response to this concern, and in support of the author's vision for the novel, Bloomsbury has decided to re-jacket the hardcover edition with a new look in time for its publication in October. It is our hope that the important discussions about race and its representation in teen literature continue. As the publisher of Liar, we also hope that nothing further distracts from the quality of the author's nuanced and accomplished story, and that a new cover will allow this novel's many advocates to celebrate its U.S. publication without reservation.' ..."

You can read the rest of the story in Publishers Weekly here.

Updated at 6:29 p.m., 8/6/09: And, from the book author's blog, here's what the new cover will look like, with a gorgeous young black woman on it:

Liar, by Justine Larbalestier

1 comment:

Joy Matkowski said...

The publisher's rationalization is silly, isn't it? And dumb, too, because the readership for black-oriented fiction is booming.

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