Media24 apologises for lack of diversity on literary judging panel

22 June 2020 - 13:58
Media24 has apologised for the lack of diversity on its literary prizes judging panel.
Media24 has apologised for the lack of diversity on its literary prizes judging panel.
Image: Supplied

The announcement of the winners of the 2020 Media24 Books Literary Prizes has been met with a severe backlash because of its lack of diversity.

The prize is awarded annually to recognise titles published during the previous year by Media24's book publishers, which include NB Publishers (through the imprints of Human & Rousseau, Tafelberg, Kwela, Queillerie) and Jonathan Ball Publishers.

Barring the fact that both the majority of shortlisted authors and members of the judging panel were white, the announcement was further denounced because the winners in each of the six categories were all white authors. 

Media24 issued a brief statement in response to the criticism; the statement reads:

We acknowledge that the lack of diversity in the judging panels of the Media24 Literary Prizes is unacceptable. We take the feedback and criticism from our fellow citizens and the literary community to heart, and we will actively address the issues to avoid a repeat of this oversight in future.

We strongly condemn any form of discrimination and remain committed to promoting a workplace and a society that is inclusive and diverse.

We made a mistake for which we sincerely apologise, and are committed to setting it right in future.