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Penguin supports BAME bookshop campaign with £15,000

PLEDGE: Penguin will match all donations made to the #ReadTheOnePercent campaign to a total of £15,000

PENGUIN RANDOM House has pledged to donate £15,000 to help independent publishers Knights Of open a permanent bookshop in Brixton stocked with children’s books featuring black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) protagonists.

Knights Of launched the #ReadTheOnePercent fundraiser in an effort to address the lack of BAME representation in children's books. In 2017 only one per cent of children’s books featured a BAME lead character.

As part of their campaign, Knights Of opened a pop-up bookshop in Brixton in October. The demand was so great that before the books had even been unpacked, families were knocking on the window keen to browse the selection.

Last month, as the #ReadTheOnePercent crowdfund entered its final push, Penguin Random House pledged to match all donations up to the total value of £15,000 in a bid to encourage people to support the campaign and to help the bookshop become a reality. The publisher began matching donations since December 19.

Aimée Felone, Knights Of co-founder, said: "We are delighted to have Penguin Random House match-funding our crowdfund! The #ReadtheOnePercent campaign has far surpassed our expectations and has highlighted demand for a permanent kids bookshop. Having this support of means we’re not only extending our reach towards a community that has expressed a desire for inclusive books but ensures inclusive representation in books reaching across the UK and Ireland."

The money raised will go towards helping the Knights Of establish a permanent bookshop in Brixton for a year and hire a full-time specialist in inclusive children’s books to work in the shop. It will also fund pop-up bookshops around the country.

The crowdfunding campaign, which has just 12 days left, has so far raised more than £27,000 of its £30,000 target.

Rebecca Sinclair, brand and communications director at Penguin Random House, said: “It’s widely acknowledged that the publishing industry has work to do to ensure books better reflect our society. While many publishers are now working hard to change this, the #ReadTheOnePercent bookshop is playing a critical role in highlighting this urgent need and celebrating books which are truly representative. It’s a brilliant initiative that captured the attention of many of us at Penguin Random House so we are thrilled to make this donation which we hope will help the bookshop smash its target and achieve its ambitions.”

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