Diversity issues have sparked conversations within the book community, both online and off, but Lee & Low has brought action to the discussion. The diversity survey hopes to set a benchmark for where the publishing industry is at with regards to gender-based, racial, sexual, and able-bodied diversity among its own employees and teams. As of September 2, Macmillan and Scholastic are the only Big Five publishers to have committed to the survey.
Kate Gale’s piece in the Huffington Post was condemned very quickly by the online book community for its casual racism and sexism, and even four days later, the multicultural publisher has continued to deal with the negative reaction. Three members of the Advisory Board have resigned their posts, including Diary of a Part-Time Indian author Sherman Alexie. Two authors have also confirmed that they will no longer be working with Red Hen, though one has cited additional personal reasons for their departure from the publisher. Gale has apologized, and several authors are standing by Red Hen, with the hope that it will continue to improve.
Classics remain classics because they continue to be relevant and understandable to their audiences. But a new Spanish translation of the epic novel is causing debate in Spain’s literary circles, as critics believe the “light” version of the story doesn’t ring true to the original tale. Cervantes’ prose, while fascinating, can be difficult for 21st century readers to grasp, and I, for one, appreciate the continued effort to make classic literature accessible to new generations.