Thursday, December 08, 2022

History of writers: data from Britain

One thinks of Britain's literary machine as being like its pop music industry: punching way above its weight in international success and celebrity, and maintaining a rich pool of mid-list authors in every genre. But The Guardian reports on statistics about the state of British authorship that sounds like the most dire laments about CanLit.

There are “serious questions about the sustainability of the writing profession in the UK” and “substantial inequalities between those who are being adequately rewarded for their writing, and those who are not,” new research has found.
Amy Thomas, the lead researcher in the team from CREATe, said that “consistently, we find that earnings from writing are decreasing and creative labour becoming devalued.”
“The 2022 report raises serious questions about the sustainability of the writing profession in the UK,” she said. “Whilst many of our respondents talked about their love of creating, and passion for writing, relying on their altruism has been used to justify an increasingly unliveable wage.”

It's striking that the detail in the report, based on survey data from 60,000 writers, relied on funding and on data from Britain's licensing collective the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.

ALCS is a genuinely author-centred collective, one that enjoys the support of the vast majority of British creators, including academic writers, and has the resources for this kind of advocacy. Sadly, that's not the situation in Canada, where our publisher-dominated collective could not and would not produce this kind of research.  

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