Teenagers of Black and Ethnic minority backgrounds (BME) in Britain have been urged to be confident and dream more.

The call comes from a black female author, Ola Laniyan-Amoako, who also owns Urbantopia Books – a new publishing company in London.

Recently, its first title dubbed Leon-Spit on the Mic has been launched online.

Amoako said the book is meant to inspire teenagers from the BME background to pursue their dreams with more confidence.

Leon-Spit on the Mic is the first title in The Lisson Chronicles series. Its setting is an inner London estate, similar to where Amoako grew up.

Not Enough Reading

After several years of teaching in Hackney and Essex, Amoako realised that this group of children do not read much enough, blaming the limited content in the UK book market.

According to the schoolteacher, these children struggle to identify themselves with books they read. However, most books fail to reflect their socio-cultural settings.

She said children from BME backgrounds want characters’ names, food, homes, and even language used in the books to reflect what they are familiar with.
Her second title Metamorphosis is due in June. It is a story of a woman who has discovered her husband has HIV, a taboo in the black community.

Amoako’s BME-oriented publication follows a research by The Reading Agency (TRA) and HarperCollins in 2007, which revealed a rising demand for children’s books among BME readers.

Opportunity for BME Writers

According to a seminar by Bookseller.com and The Reading agency in 2007, publishers have placed so much emphasis on literary fiction that they risked neglecting the demands for other genres.

Amaoko said her publishing company gives BME writers an opportunity to publish the stories about Black and other ethnic minorities, which are rarely publicised.

She said Urbantopia Books would give BME writers “a voice”.

Currently, the publishing house is seeking writers, especially those from Asian backgrounds whom she said are also "under represented in the publishing industry".


by Brian Aboringong

Black and Ethnic Minority Teens Should ‘Dream More’


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