On diversity and literary awards

This is an interesting piece on the perception of “box-ticking” for diversity markers in literary awards. If you think boxes are being ticked, then you think those ticks are superseding quality.

Such arguments should be deeply offensive to anyone in the business of words. They not only presuppose that equality and quality are mutually exclusive, but that diversity is actually dangerous. Why? Because it results in a diluting rather than sparking of excellence. It means that those of us who fall under diversity’s wide umbrella have been held back, not because of discrimination and prejudice, a narrowness of perspective that tends to accompany privilege, or a lack of representation, but because we are not as good. Or conversely, if we happen to have made our way, it is because allowances were made, quotas met, liberal consciences assuaged, but never, God forbid, did we get here on merit alone.

3 thoughts on “On diversity and literary awards

  1. Where did this quote come from (so i can be mad at them forever). Its weird to me that people think that only white people on awards lists somehow indicates quality, while diverse short lists does not. Time to pivot, people.


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