The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays by Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people from across different creative and professional fields in the UK, was a critically lauded breakthrough hit when it came out in 2016. The book, edited by Nikesh Shukla and ushered into being through a successful crowdfunding campaign, tackled issues related to race, representation, and migration; it came at a time of heightened anti-immigration rhetoric and anxiety about the future of race relations only months after the Brexit vote. Now, Shukla is trying to build upon the success of The Good Immigrant to create a more sustainable platform for BAME writers and creatives in a publishing industry that is still predominantly white, to a shocking degree.
This time around, Shukla has teamed up with his literary agent Julia Kingsford to pitch to the public two new ideas: The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency. As they explained in their Kickstarter page for the projects, The Good Journal was conceived of as a more expansive follow-up to The Good Immigrant, with the rationale, “Why stick to one more volume and why only use it to talk about race and immigration…we’d launch it as a journal, with slots for established writers, up-and-coming writers and open slots for undiscovered talent, open up the remit to encompass writing from all fields.” At least four issues have been mapped out so far, and Shukla and Kingsford voice their hope that the journal will help uncover hidden talents amongst creators who otherwise have trouble finding a platform and appreciation for their work.
Still, one journal can only publish so much content, and one small, dedicated staff can only nurture so much potential. That’s why along with the Good Journal, Shukla and Kingsford are seeking donations to help jump start their own literary agency, The Good Literary Agency, devoted to fostering and marketing “BAME, disabled, working-class, and LGBTQ+ writers” in order to encourage more long-term inclusion and magnification of marginalized voices in the publishing world.
The Kickstarter for the project was launched on September 21st 2017 and has already raised $20,503 of the target of $53,973 as of September 23rd with a majority of backers coming from around the UK, showing that the enthusiasm and desire for a broader and more critical dialogue about race, class, and diversity in Britain has far from abated.