Book critics resign due to lack of racial diversity

Two emerging book critics chosen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age as part of an arts criticism initiative have stepped down from their appointments.

Bec Kavanagh and Jack Callil, two of the five emerging critics hired by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age earlier this year thanks to a grant from The Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, have resigned from their roles, citing the lack of diversity in hiring as the reason for their departure.

‘This selection fails to reflect Australia’s diverse literary community, and is a missed opportunity to support non-white voices in art criticism in Australia. We want our work to be part of a landscape that recognises the nuances in understanding and experience needed to engage with works of art on multiple levels: we all miss out if there’s only one voice in the room. While we are incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity in the first place, we both feel that the best way we can advocate for necessary change is to step aside and ask (as we have, in a letter to our editors) for the funds allocated to us to be re-distributed to nonwhite writers,’ the pair said in a statement posted to social media on 22 June.

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