NEW YORK — Howard University, PEN America and the Scholastic Book Clubs are among the latest recipients of gifts from James Patterson, the best-selling author who has donated more than $100 million to literary and literacy programs.
On Tuesday, Patterson announced $5.3 million in prize money. They include $2 million for PEN to support the organization’s fight for freedom of expression around the world; $2 million to Scholastic for “The United States of Readers” classroom project and a total of $1.3 million to Howard University, a historically black university, for 12 James Patterson Writers’ Education Scholarships, worth $10,000 each for the current academic year, and for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for 14 scholarships, awarded to 11 storytellers and three poets.
“I was raised to give back, so my mother and grandmother should be commended here,” Patterson said in a statement. “I have dedicated my career to getting as many people as possible to love books. I advocate for literacy and schools, fund scholarships for teachers, and support other writers, booksellers, and librarians in any way I can.”
James Patterson apologizes for saying that white writers face “another form of racism”
In June, Patterson came under fire for saying he thinks white men are struggling lately to get hired in the entertainment industry.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Patterson lamented white men struggling to find writing jobs in the film, theater, television and publishing industries as “just another form of racism”.
“What’s that all about?” he continued. “Can you get a job? Yeah. Is it harder? Yeah. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t know a lot of 52-year-old white men.”
James Patterson said white men face “racism” in posts. What do book sales say?
Patterson issued an apology on June 14 via Twitter: “I apologize for saying that white writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism. I absolutely do not believe racism is practiced against white writers. Please know that I strongly support hear a diversity of voices: in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.”
Over the years, Patterson has also donated millions of dollars to teachers, school libraries and independent bookstores.
While there is little definitive industry-wide data, recent reports and audits of the publishing industry show that the landscape is overwhelmingly white.
main editor Penguin Random House Conducted a 2019-2021 Diversity Self-Audit and found that 74.9% of its contributors in that period were white; only 6% were black, while 5% were Hispanic or Latino. The publisher’s employees were also very white, making up 74.2% of its workforce.
In 2020, the New York Times compiled its own data to determine how white the publishing industry is and in their sample, 89% of books written in 2018 were by white authors. A survey 2019 It also found that 85% of the people who buy and publish books are white.
Contributors: Hannah Yasharoff and Barbara VanDenburgh
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