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Sharmaine Lovegrove: 'Let’s ensure inclusivity is the norm'

PICTURED: Sharmaine Lovegrove (Image: Twitter)

SHARMAINE LOVEGROVE has called on the publishing industry to ensure that inclusivity is the norm and not simply a trend.

Speaking at the Futurebook conference, where she was given the award for Futurebook person of the year, Lovegrove said publishers need to think about the impact individuals can have when they think differently.

“I'm really grateful for this year and the books that I published. I'm publishing a lot of different people – fiction, non fiction, commercial and literary – I’m publishing for everyone in this country. I thank my team – it’s so hard for them; I’m so demanding. We don’t really use the elastication of what we can do with our publishing houses enough so sometimes I get quite frustrated,” The Bookseller reported Lovegrove said.

The Dialogue Books and Little, Brown publisher also spoke about the difficulties of being a black woman in her field and her endeavours to breakthrough barriers. She said: “It’s so hard to be this person and to be this black woman in this industry. It's so hard to say 'please make space for us'. I’m not going to say 'please' anymore. Next year we’re just going to do it."

She added: "For me the best things are books and stories. I want an inclusive future that centres around brilliant stories and writers and inspires readers. Let's make books for everyone everywhere. Let's ensure that inclusivity in the workplace is the norm and not just a trend.”

Writing in The Guardian earlier this year, Lovegrove revealed the personal toll being the only black woman in her department had on her.
“During my first six months as a publisher I cried every day, as it was so hard to be the only black woman in my division and for my race to be so defining of my work. I felt ashamed at the continual requests to be on diversity panels and hated the feeling that my presence made people think we had made progress,” she wrote.

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