Myra Duffy: Notes on Diversity and Writing April 2021

Meeting of 29th April 2021: Workshop on Diversity led by Leela Soma
One of the key issues for writers today is that of Diversity. It’s probably true to say we’re all more aware of this than before, but there is still a long way to go before we are able to claim Scottish writing truly reflects our diverse population. This applies both to writers and to the characters we create. A notable step forward is the recent appointment of our group’s member, Palo Stickland, to the Scottish Association of Writers Committee as their Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
In this workshop on 29th April, Leela led members in a series of thought-provoking exercises and wide-ranging discussions on the theme of Diversity. The workshop exercises were challenging but fun, and members appreciated the research Leela had undertaken to make the meeting such a success. 
Leela’s preliminary presentation of some facts and statistics on Diversity in publishing revealed some unexpected information – such as a survey in the U.S.A. showing there were more animal protagonists in children’s books than people of colour.
The key findings from a recent Scottish survey highlighted the gap between aspiration and reality in representing BAME writers in Scottish literature. It is encouraging to note that Creative Scotland has now set up an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group to support and develop its delivery against its current and future outcomes.
But, no matter how many worthy committees are set up, it is down to each of us as writers to take on board the issues raised during the workshop and to reflect the Scottish population’s true composition in our writing.