Our Commitments in Action

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Our Approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Our Approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

As Penguin Random House, we hold a collective belief in ensuring that diverse voices are elevated and heard. And we can and must do better. We must give a platform to an even broader range of voices, especially more authors and illustrators of color. Establishing more inclusive business practices—including reflecting the diversity of our world in our staff—is a necessity for us to help build an inclusive society. For us, more diverse publishing is not just a moral imperative.

We hear, and support, the demands for change from our colleagues, authors, partners, and readers, and the wider community. These four pillars are guiding our global approach to diversity and inclusion in our business around the world.

Leadership Investment in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Effective leadership is at the core of systemic change and we are committed to investing in that change through unconscious bias, antiracism, and inclusivity training. We acknowledge that leaders need to take more proactive ownership of our efforts in order to relieve the burden on employees from marginalized groups and junior employees.

Diversity & Representation. While we have a globally diverse workforce, we are committed to making our employee population even more representative of our society. We will increase the number of books we publish—and promote, market, and sell—by people of color.

Career Growth. We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion are crucial to the development of all employees. Our Human Resources teams have created tools to help employees have more purposeful conversations with their managers about career advancement. We are actively making advancements to increase the clarity and consistency regarding opportunities for career and compensation development in order to ensure that employees are prepared, supported, and well situated in how to advocate for their career path.

Psychological Safety and Belonging. We understand that it is important to assure that employees are able to authentically express all aspects of their identities in the workplace, and that managers play a key role in this process. We seek to create a more psychologically safe, inclusive environment that allows employees to bring their full selves to work and voice their ideas and opinions freely and without fear.

These four pillars are the guiding principles by which Penguin Random House will foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive company culture. Like our publishing, we locally implement our global diversity and inclusion position. On this page, you will find a selection of the programs and initiatives that are underway in support of these overarching pillars.

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OF THE BLACK CREATIVES FUND


Penguin Random House U.S. expanded its partnership with We Need Diverse Books to create the Black Creatives Fund, which will encourage and amplify the work of Black writers who are seeking publication, to bring more Black voices and stories to the world.
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Launching a New Donation Platform for the 1619 Project

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Launching a New Donation Platform for the 1619 Project

Ahead of the publication of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story on November 16, 2021, One World, an imprint of Random House, partnered with Bookshop.org, the ethical online marketplace which supports independent bookstores. The expanded book version of the 1619 Project – one of the most significant journalistic events of recent years by Nikole Hannah-Jones that places slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative – provides readers with the definitive account of how racism and Black resistance have shaped the nation. 

Independent bookstores across the U.S. have identified local organizations such as schools, libraries, and book banks that will benefit from donated copies of this momentous book.Through Bookshop.org, customers can support local bookstores and communities directly, as well as through We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization that distributes books to low-income classrooms, educators, and organizations across the country. Over 15 percent of the participating independent bookstores are Black-owned and managed, with many playing a significant role in their local communities. This partnership will allow them to continue supporting their communities by making the stories of The 1619 Project widely accessible. The initiative runs through January 31, 2022.

For more information on The 1619 Project and Nikole Hannah-Jones, visit 1619Books.com

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Partnering with #DisruptTexts

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Partnering with #DisruptTexts

Penguin Classics has partnered with #DisruptTexts, a renowned education organization that works to create a more inclusive, representative and equitable language arts curriculum for K-12 students. Facilitated by Penguin Random House (PRH) Education, this partnership includes a number of new initiatives focused on connecting with, and supporting, educators through innovative programming; online events for vital dialogue and teacher community discussion; and new educator resources for guiding student reading and discussion of traditional and “new” classics in-and-out of the classroom.  

Initiatives and resources include: original educator guides authored by the #DisruptTexts team, to be made available as free, downloadable educator resources on PRHSecondaryED.com; a virtual educator event to be hosted by the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE); an online discussion panel to be hosted by publisher Penguin Classics featuring Min Jin Lee, author of the novel Pachinko; and a number of other collaborative programming and resource-based initiatives in development. Each of these initiatives will revolve around the essential question “what is a classic?” in order to broaden the scope of which texts are considered traditional literary canon.

The aforementioned educator guides will be for four Penguin Classics texts that have been overlooked in secondary classrooms that are representative of BIPOC communities, including: Passing by Nella Larsen; Monkey King by Wu Cheng’en; Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko; and The Penguin Book of Migration Literature edited by Dohra Ahmad.

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Bringing Virtual Business Bootcamps to Writers Everywhere

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Bringing Virtual Business Bootcamps to Writers Everywhere

We partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to host Virtual Business Bootcamps for Writers at no charge to participants due in part to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and other generous donors. The Business Bootcamps for Writers  launched in 2018 as a free, in-person one-day intensive program across various locations around the country, targeting communities without such programming or connections to the publishing industry. With the pandemic, the Business Bootcamps for Writers program was reimagined as a series of webinars presented over several months. By offering the curriculum online, a greater number of writers who wish to participate are reachable no matter where they live. 

The Bootcamps for Writers is a series of free webinars for early and mid-career authors that provides them with the relevant tools and resources to manage their careers and successfully navigate the publishing marketplace.  he curriculum educates authors about just what it takes to create, publish, and market books in an increasingly competitive climate, including a deep dive focusing on earning a sustainable living as an author.

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Hosting the Voices for Justice Virtual Speaker Series

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Hosting the Voices for Justice Virtual Speaker Series

As a part of our commitment to amplifying diverse voices, we sponsored Voices for Justice, a free virtual speaker series that supports diversity, equity and inclusion work at the Cambridge Public Library. 

The virtual events featured Random House author Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste) and One World author Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer) . 

Voices for Justice funds diversity, equity and inclusion activities at the Cambridge Public Library, including public programming and workshops, professional development for Library staff, and the creation of “Little Free Libraries” filled with free books that reflect diverse authors and experiences.

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Partnering with Aesop on Queer Libraries

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Partnering with Aesop on Queer Libraries

In celebration of Pride Month, we with skincare brand Aesop to transform four of their retail locations in the United States and Canada into Queer Libraries. For a week in June, Aesop stores in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto cleared the products from their shelves and replaced them with books that uplift the underrepresented voices and experiences of queer communities around the world, with a particular emphasis on BIPOC and trans authors.

Designed to spotlight LGBTQIA+ authors and to promote access to their works, the campaign invited all guests to take home a complimentary book of their choice, with no purchase required. As part of the initiative, Penguin Random House donated 2,350 titles to the collection. In solidarity with independent queer bookstores, Aesop also purchased more than 3,000 volumes from Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto and Women & Children First in Chicago.

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Honoring Juneteenth With Ongoing Commitment to #AmplifyBlackStories

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Honoring Juneteenth With Ongoing Commitment to #AmplifyBlackStories

In celebration of Juneteenth, we gave 100% of net proceeds on PRH.com on June 19 to the Bookshop.org fund benefitting Black-owned bookstores as we continue our commitment to #AmplifyBlackStories all year long. For the month of June, #AmplifyBlackStories highlighted stories of Black joy, not to disregard the realities of racism and injustice but to engage with the Black experience in America in a way that is full, balanced, and truthful.

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Commemorating Juneteenth with the Black Caucus of NCTE

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Commemorating Juneteenth with the Black Caucus of NCTE

In collaboration with Anthony Key, Director, Multicultural Marketing, and the School & Library Marketing teams at the Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s publishing divisions, Penguin Random House Education observed  

In observation of Juneteenth, Penguin Random House Education donated $10,000 and free books to support the great work of the Black Caucus of NCTE, an advocacy group of Black English language arts educators and scholars. Alongside the Black Caucus of NCTE, we hosted our inaugural commemoration of Juneteenth during the event: “Literacies as Freedom Tickets: Black Caucus Scholars Reflect on the Texts That Set Them Free” on June 16th. We observed Juneteenth as an occasion for reflection and education to celebrate the end of slavery in America and acknowledged the profound contributions of Black people to American history and culture.. 

Additionally, Penguin Random House Education has created multiple collections of books by Black creators that educate, empower, and inspire students in the classroom year-round for elementary students and secondary students.

We are committed to lifting and holding Black voices throughout the year and were happy to honor them especially on Juneteenth.

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Launching All Ways Black with Cree Myles

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Launching All Ways Black with Cree Myles

In June 2021, we launched All Ways Black, an initiative showcasing  and celebrating the many facets of the Black experience.

Debuting on instagram, All Ways Black (@allwaysblack) is a separate and unique channel designed to specifically connect with Black readers every day and carve out space specifically for our Black authors and books. All Ways Black is a key expression of Amplify Black Stories, an ongoing initiative dedicated to promoting the Black authors and books that are moving culture forward.

We partnered with influencer Cree Myles,founding editor of All Ways Black and the creative force behind last winter’s Black Like We Never Left Read-a-Thon that raised more than $10,000 for the Center for Fiction’s Emerging Writer Program, for an authentic voice for the channel. Cree works alongside the Creative Strategy team to develop editorial content and original programming that highlights the depth and breadth of our stories and creators.


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Supporting the Freedom to Read


Our Partnership with One Tree Planted


Expanding our Support for Hospital Book Mobiles

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