Luckily I am writing a fantasy novel and don’t have to consider any of this (though, coincidentally, there is a plague in my book), but authors are taking things into their own hands when it comes to adapting to things like post-Covid-19 life and racial inequality and under-representation.
Ng’s donation is part of a growing trend in publishing: authors of color are using their means to push for systemic changes to address publishing’s much-documented diversity problem. “I’m troubled by how undiverse the publishing industry is—extremely white, extremely straight, extremely abled, among other things—and have wanted to do something about it for the long time,” Ng tweeted when announcing the grants. “A job in publishing often requires experience like an internship—often unpaid or low-paid—before you can get hired. This shuts out many people who can’t afford that. But their voices are exactly what we need to acquire, publish, and champion stories that often go overlooked. The goal of these grants is to make internships (and hopefully careers) in publishing more accessible, so we can increase diversity in publishing from the ground up.”
The idea, Ng said in another tweet, was inspired by author and Ringer staff writer Shea Serrano. “Back in november i read an article at Publishers Weekly that included a stat that i thought was very sucky: hispanics barely make up 3 percent the racial makeup of publishing,” Serrano tweeted in December 2019, referring to the 2019 PW Salary Survey. “That chart really stuck with me in one of those bad kind of ways—i spent a lot thinking about how i didn’t even know writing for a living was a thing that was available because that’s not the kind of work they tell you about when you live on the south side of san antonio.” So he and his wife, Larami Serrano, donated $20,000 to the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists to found a four-year, $5,000 scholarship in his name, given to students interested in becoming either a journalist or a published author.