Broadcaster June Sarpong will head up a new publishing imprint to seek out authors from underrepresented communities who do not have agents.
HQ, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, will launch HQ Creative Inclusion Lab, which aims to make the industry more inclusive and accessible and provide a platform for unheard voices from diverse, disabled and working-class backgrounds.
Sarpong, who is the BBC’s first director of creative diversity, has published three books with HQ.
She will lead the new imprint, which is open for submissions from unagented, first-time authors writing fiction or non-fiction for adults.
Sarpong said: “Over the past five years, I have been fortunate enough to work with Lisa Milton (HQ executive publisher) and the HQ family on my own books, their commitment to diversity and inclusion has been unwavering, so I can’t think of a better team to collaborate with on my new publishing imprint.
“It is such an honour to be able to offer a platform for new voices from diverse backgrounds, there are so many stories that are yet to be told from worlds that have so much rich content to offer a mainstream audience.
“I look forward to embarking on this exciting journey to discover this untapped talent.”
Lisa Milton added: “Diversity and inclusion is a key HQ principle; it’s our mission statement, our acquisitions strategy and inherent in how we take our books to market.
“It is an honour to build on these foundations with June – one of the leading voices in inclusion – to create our new imprint.
“June is such a powerful leader of the change we want to see, together we can bring opportunities to many who have not previously felt publishing was open to them.
“Our mantra is changing the world one book at a time. I can’t wait to start receiving submissions.”