Lit in Colour

Forster Communications

Client: Penguin Books UK

Fewer than 1% of young people in England study a book by a Black, Asian or minority ethnic author at GCSE. This does not represent the rich diversity of contemporary publishing or the makeup of our society, with 34% of school-age students identifying as Black, Asian or minority ethnic.

Lit in Colour is a partnership between publisher Penguin and race equality think-tank The Runnymede Trust aiming to make the English literature curriculum more inclusive. Central to the campaign was research looking at the current state of play in English literature education, making practical recommendations and highlighting the urgent need for change.

It received a huge amount of news coverage and was shared far and wide on social media all over the country, but Lit In Colour is a long-term project building a national conversation about why books create belonging and the lack of representation in English lessons.

More importantly, Lit in Colour has provided practical support for schools, including book donations, free teaching resources and training webinars. Penguin has acted as a convener, bringing together organisations across the education and publishing sectors, including other publishers and exam boards, to create a holistic, sustainable and strategic approach. And it’s working; •A ground-breaking partnership with Pearson has reached 12,000 students - effectively doubling the number of students in England studying a book by a writer of colour at GCSE overnight •We generated interest from policy-makers, leading to meetings with representatives from the DfE, No10 and OFSTED, and representatives from the Welsh Government.