May 23, 2022

Recording of an Online Discussion: “Changing the Narrative: Diversity in the Publishing Industry”

The online discussion “Changing the Narrative: Diversity in the Publishing Industry”  took place on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. The event was sponsored by The Aspen Institute. A video recording is available and embedded below.

From the Description:

Going off the New York Times best sellers list today, it’s obvious that fiction and nonfiction by Black authors are in demand. So why is the world of publishing so reluctant to offer Black writers the same major book deals typically offered to white writers? There are few people of color who serve as publishing staff or literary agents, and even fewer who operate at decision-making levels.

The recent Twitter protest #PublishingPaidMe exposed the major pay disparities in the industry between Black and non-Black authors. As a result, Black writers struggle to receive the same marketing exposure, even as readers continue to find and demonstrate their enthusiasm for the titles that do get published. How might the book publishing industry use this moment to bring more racial diversity to the field? As part two of our Changing the Narrative series, this program explores these challenges, as well as new possibilities for employing, and publishing more books by, people of color.


  • Regina Brooks, Founder & President, Serendipity Literary Agency
  • Nicole Dennis-Benn, Award Winning Novelist, Author of Patsy
  • Lisa Lucas, Incoming Senior Vice President & Publisher, Pantheon and Schocken Books
  • Erroll McDonald, Vice President and Executive Editor, Knopf Doubleday Division, Penguin Random House
  • Adrienne Brodeur, Executive Director, Aspen Words, & Author of Wild Game

Update: Coverage of the Discussion From Publishers Weekly: “Publishing Professionals Push for Diversification Throughout Industry”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.