Our Commitments in Action

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Our Approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

WorldWide
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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.

U.S.

Sponsor

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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Supporting Black Creators Through the Black Creatives Fund

U.S.
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Supporting Black Creators Through the Black Creatives Fund

Together with We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), we launched the Black Creatives Fund in February 2021, an initiative with a mission of supporting emerging and established Black writers and illustrators. Penguin Random House is the inaugural sponsor of the fund for the 2021 year. 

The Black Creatives Fund will feature three initiatives in 2021, including a Revisions Workshop, a mentorship program, and a marketing symposia in partnership with the Brown Bookshelf. The Fund will launch with the six-month Revisions Workshop that will support unpublished Black writers with completed manuscripts and feature esteemed faculty including our authors Nic Stone and Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Twelve writers selected for the workshop will have the opportunity to receive guidance throughout the revision process and submit their manuscript to editors at Penguin Random House for possible publication. All 12 writers will be awarded stipends. Two finalists will receive larger grants, and publishing deals for top performers will be strongly considered. 

As longtime partners of WNDB, we are honored to collaborate with them to build this important new pipeline for discovering and elevating Black voices. The Black Creatives Fund is an integral piece of Amplify Black Stories, our year-long campaign to celebrate Black authors and introduce their stories to a diverse group of readers. For more information, please visit the Black Creatives Fund program page.

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Launching the 2021 Creative Writing Awards

U.S.
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Launching the 2021 Creative Writing Awards

For the second consecutive year, we will partner with We Need Diverse Books for PRH’s annual Creative Writing Awards Program to widen the applicant pool beyond New York City and invite hundreds of students from across the country to submit their work. Our partnership with WNDB underscores a critical element of the CWA program: to nurture the next generation of literary talent by supporting young writers from a variety of backgrounds. As the publishing industry continues to reckon with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the CWA program is an opportunity for PRH to support students from underrepresented backgrounds and encourage their involvement in the field. This program is one facet of our continued effort to elevate diverse perspectives and increase representation among our authors and staff.

The 2021 competition launches on December 2, and closes on March 2, 2021.  Five first-place $10,000 prizes will be awarded in the categories of fiction/drama; poetry; personal essay/memoir; and spoken-word poetry, through the Maya Angelou Award. In recognition of the Creative Writing Awards previously being centered in New York City, the competition will award an additional first-place prize to the top entrant from the NYC area.  Runners up will also be honored.

Established in 1993, the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awardshave awarded more than $2.8 million dollars to public high school students for their original compositions. To learn more about the program, please click here.

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Sponsoring CLMP’s First Annual Black Literary Award

U.S.
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Sponsoring CLMP’s First Annual Black Literary Award

We are excited to be the inaugural sponsors of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ first annual Black Literary Award to support the ongoing work of Black-led presses and presses who champion BIPOC authors. Recipients of CLMP’s award will receive $10,000 grants and will be announced in spring 2021.

At Penguin Random House, we’re committed to fostering a literary landscape that’s truly diverse, where emerging and underrepresented writers are recognized. Grants like the Black Literary Publishing Award help ensure new voices and perspectives are heard. In support CLMP’s 50-year legacy of elevating emerging writers through small, independent publishers, we’re honored to help make it possible for them to launch this important initiative and secure its future.

 

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Bolstering Diversity in School Reading Lists

U.K.
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Bolstering Diversity in School Reading Lists

We teamed up with think tank Runnymede Trust to launch Lit in Colour, a project that aims to diversify school reading lists by developing and providing a culturally diverse curriculum that more accurately represents today’s students and inspires them to read outside of their classes.

An analysis from Penguin Random House U.K. and Runnymede Trust found that 56 of 65 novels and plays on the GCSE English literature specifications are written by white authors. This report reflects recent data from Teach First, which found that pupils could leave school in England without studying a novel or play by a BIPOC author.

Lit in Colour will offer free books, create teaching resources, and invite authors to visit classrooms.  The program will also analyze what’s currently being taught in English lessons and identify gaps to fill.

Access to a diverse and representative range of books, authors and characters is critical for all students, and we hope Lit in Colour will help inspire a lifelong love of reading by offering a wider range of voices, cultures, and perspectives on school book shelves.

 

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Black Lives Matter

U.S.
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Black Lives Matter

At Penguin Random House, we believe in and strive to create an environment of belonging and respect for all. We as individuals and as the collective leadership of this company recognize the urgent need to forge a path toward positive change. Black Lives Matter. Black Stories Matter and Black Voices Matter—and as publishers, we commit to using the powers of our creativity and ingenuity to lift those voices up in the world.

A list of anti-racist books and resources can be found here.

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Sparking Imaginations With the Raptors 905

CANADA
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Sparking Imaginations With the Raptors 905

Penguin Random House Canada is committed to doing our part to create a fairer society, including by promoting equitable access to meaningful and inspiring reading experiences for marginalized readers. In July 2020, we worked together with First Book Canada and the Raptors 905 basketball team to give one thousand copies of five books by Black authors, about Black characters, to two hundred grade five students in the team’s home region of Peel, Ontario. The kids will read one book a week for five weeks for a total of 905 minutes of reading, coming together at the end of each week to talk about what they’ve read with each other, the book’s author, and community leaders including representatives from Brampton’s Festival of Literary Diversity, with Raptors 905 Head Coach Jama Mahlalela leading the conversation. We’re grateful for the opportunity to help this group of young readers keep connected with each other, engaged with stories that reflect their own identities and experiences, and fired up by their imaginations this summer. To learn more about this program, click here.

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Confronting Racism and Social Inequity

CANADA
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Confronting Racism and Social Inequity

In response to protests against anti-Black racism following the murder of George Floyd, we looked inward to identify what part we play in the problem and, potentially, in the efforts to solve it. As publishers, we are dedicated to amplifying the voices of Black authors, but we know we need to do more to support the efforts for change they and other members of Black communities in Canada, as well as Indigenous and other marginalized communities, are leading. We created an anti-racism action and accountability plan to work toward a more diverse and truly inclusive company, industry, and society. As part of that plan, we made donations of $20,000 each to the Black Legal Action Centre, the Black Health Alliance, and the Nia Centre for the Arts, three Black-led organizations that work in the service of racial equity in their respective areas for members of Black communities in Toronto and nationwide. Beyond this crucial moment, we’re committed to providing ongoing support to organizations working in the area of anti-racism.

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#SpeakUp Campaign

INDIA
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© Penguin Random House India


#SpeakUp Campaign

To highlight the pertinent issues faced by women around the globe, which were heightened due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, we organized a series of conversations with stellar Penguin authors, hosted by journalist Pragya Tiwari. The spectacular panel of authors puts the spotlight on topical and relevant themes, which aim to support women by way of empowering them with information, building awareness in the community, and opening doors to more such pathbreaking conversations. In conversation with Tiwari over five distinct episodes, our authors addressed wide-ranging concerns. Sohaila Abdulali and Samra Zafar addressed the issue of domestic violence and sexual abuse, while Kavita Krishnan discussed the idea of women’s safety and personal freedom. Economic journalist Puja Mehra talked about the economy and finance in the context of the current global environment, and Shiromi Pinto spoke on why women artists and architects are often forgotten. To learn more, click here and here.


See More


Penguin Random House Celebrates International Literacy Day with Worldreader


Signing the Healthy Printing Charter


Bringing Read Aloud Day to Homes and Schools in Germany

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