Anthology The Good Immigrant Crowdfunded Thanks to Hundreds of Pledgers, Including J.K. Rowling

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A very exciting project launched on Unbound on Monday titled The Good Immigrant and within a week it’s been fully funded. Various authors, including JK Rowling, David Nicholls, Jonathan Coe and Evie Wyld have pledged, with Rowling donating five thousand pounds, earning her the title of “Patron.”

Writer Nikesh Shukla (pictured above), who’s editing the anthology, has a video and mission statement on Unbound where he explains the reasoning for the anthology, which I agree is very timely and important. The Good Immigrant will bring together 15 emerging Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) artists, writers, poets, and journalists exploring what that identity means in Britain today and the contributors look great:

Contributors to this extraordinary state of the nation collection will include: Musa Okwonga (poet/broadcaster), Chimene Suleyman (poet/columnist), Vinay Patel (playwright), Bim Adewumni (Buzzfeed), Salena Godden (poet/writer), Sabrina Mahfouz (playwright), Kieran Yates (journalist), Coco Khan (journalist), Sarah Sahim (journalist), Reni Eddo Lodge (journalist), Varaidzo (student), Darren Chetty (teacher), Himesh Patel (Tamwar from Eastenders), Nish Kumar (comedian) and Miss L from Casting Call Woe (actor).

Shukla states that he was tired of “shouting at closed doors at the time” when talking about the lack of BAME voices in mainstream publishing.“Basically, I never want to sit on another diversity panel again,” he says. Thus, he decided to put Chinua Achebe’s words of “if you don’t like the story, write your own” into practice. The Good Immigrant, he says is an opportunity for readers to experience a lot of great BAME writers and for younger readers, or “kid Nikeshes” to see themselves on the page in both content and creator. It reminds me of Kendrick Daye and Myles E. Johnson’s Kickstarter for Large Fears earlier this year, where Johnson said that they wanted to see a queer black boy in children’s books, and decided to create one instead of “waiting for it to come to be.”  He gave the book its title after a conversation with Musa Okwonga who pointed out that immigrants are viewed as bad and “benefits scourging” unless they do something to transition into popular culture, at which point you become a “good immigrant” (he cites Mo Farah and Nadya Hussain as examples). The book is currently 102% funded, which Shukla celebrated with his own unique rendition of “Hotline Bling.”

This definitely looks like a must-read and it’s great to see authors like Rowling support BAME writers and artists. I hope that publishers see The Good Immigrant and recognize that there’s not only a need for these voices in publishing, but also a huge demand for them from the public. You can pledge for a copy of The Good Immigrant here.

(via The Guardian)

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