The thing in fiction that is unique is the writer. For this reason, if for no other, we need diversity in our writers.
As a publisher I care about stories, the telling of tall tales, the spinning of yarns, the coming together around a fire and sharing urban myths. A good storyteller is the real world Rumpelstiltskin creating gold from straw.
To me the fundamental reason for wanting diversity in genre fiction writers is the uniqueness of every voice. The richness of experience and the alternatives views of the world and events in it that comes from being a different religion, ethnicity or gender.
I am not saying that, for example, only writers of colour should have protagonists of colour. I think all writers should write the stories and characters they want. Still, as important as it is to have diversity within stories, it is, to me at least, even more important to have diversity behind the story. That is the only way we can truly enjoy the deep, glorious potential of storytelling.
This is why at Fox Spirit we focus on stories. In our selections we would rather work a little harder with authors for whom English is not a first language and get the great stories. It’s because we love storytelling in all its forms that we organise live reading events for all local writers not just our own (Fox Bites), which in Leicester is a wonderfully multicultural affair.
Fox Spirit is deliberately open when we do submission calls, allowing for interpretations of a theme to encourage people with different voices and ideas to take a chance where they might otherwise be cautious and while we cannot say we are truly diverse we are definitely bucking the trend in gender bias, which is a start.