Reading for sensivity

A story at Slate reports on the trend of authors and publishers using so-called “sensitivity readers” to make sure manuscripts don’t alienate or anger readers by mistake.

The article’s author, Katy Waldman, writes: “These advising angels — part fact-checkers, part cultural ambassadors — are new additions to the book publishing ecosystem. Either hired by individual authors or by publishing houses, sensitivity readers are members of a minority group tasked specifically with examining manuscripts for hurtful, inaccurate, or inappropriate depictions of that group.”

Waldman notes, “As a push for diversity in fiction reshapes the publishing landscape, the emergence of sensitivity readers seems almost inevitable. A flowering sense of social conscience, not to mention a strong market incentive, is elevating stories that richly reflect the variety of human experience. America — specifically young America — is currently more diverse than ever.” And backlash can hurt sales.

Of course, it can help sales, too. Your thoughts? Email

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