© 2019

Inclusive Young Adult Fiction

Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom


About this book


This book examines ‘diversity’, or the lack thereof, in young adult fiction (YA) publishing. It focuses on cultural hegemony in the United Kingdom and explores how literary culture aimed at young adults reproduces and perpetuates ‘racial’ and ethnic cultural hierarchies. Diversity is described by the We Need Diverse Books project as ‘all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities’. This study focuses on people of colour. While previous studies have looked at the representation of ethnic minorities in books for children and young adults, this book examines the experiences of ‘own voice’ cultural producers that create a counter-narrative. Specifically, this book will investigate the output and experiences of British young adult fiction authors of colour (BAME authors) published in the UK during the period 2006-2016, drawing upon semi-structured interviews with a sample of authors.


Diversity Ethnicity Publishing Creative industries Young Adult Authors Identity Empathy Race YA

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

About the authors

Melanie Ramdarshan Bold is Associate Professor at University College London, UK. Her main research interest centres on contemporary authorship, publishing, and reading, with a focus on children's and YA books. Her forthcoming book, Activism and Young Adult Publishing: Anthologies as Advocates for Change, will publish in 2019. Melanie is currently working on an interdisciplinary research project, Adolescent Identities, which investigates how YA reflects the realities of minoritised readers. She was a judge of the UKYA Book Prize in 2018. 

Bibliographic information


“This book is an important intervention into the discourse surrounding authorship and ethnicity, focusing on the situation of writers of fiction for young adults published in the UK. Building on a set of interviews, quantitative and contextual data, Melanie Ramdarshan Bold brings critique to the failings of the dominantly-white publishing industry to change its hegemonic practices. Insightful, revealing, and written with political purpose, the book makes for crucial reading for publishers, those researching and studying the publishing industry, and all who are concerned with questions of race and representation in the creative industries.” (Professor Claire Squires, University of Stirling, UK)

“Ramdarshan Bold’s book is essential reading for anyone concerned with young adults and their literature, critically challenging the historic lack of authors of colour in the UK publishing industry and interrogating the effect on readers and writers of YA fiction.  Author interviews and data-analysis reinforce the conclusions of this study calling for fundamental change at every level of YA publishing.” (Professor Karen Sands-O’Connor, Buffalo State, USA)