Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A fine line

Is the increasingly widespread employment of "sensitivity readers" within the literary industry a commendable and responsible strategy on the part of publishers, or is it simply a case of self-interested arse-covering? As the interviewees in Alison Flood's Guardian article on the phenomenon suggest, it could well be both.

It does seem excessive to brand sensitivity readers as censors, though. Their job, it seems, is to flag up things that could potentially and inadvertently cause offence and to suggest alternative options, rather than to prescribe changes. Certainly, Lionel Shriver's suggestion that they might spell the end for bigoted characters is facetious nonsense, lazily conflating the views of authors with those of their creations.

(Thanks to David for the link.)

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