A new publishing imprint aims to bring diversity to mystery thrillers
Jason Pinter has been a member of the crime-fiction community for the better part of a decade, wearing many different hats as founder and publisher of Polis Books, editor and author of numerous titles, including “The Castle,” “The Guilty” and “The Stolen.”
Over the years, Pinter would go to various industry conferences and notice that the attendees were, by his estimate, about “95% white.”
“As wonderful as the conferences are, it started to dawn on me that the representation in these events was not representative of the community at large,” he says. “And so I asked myself, as a publisher, what do I do about that?”
The answer: the creation of a new Polis Books imprint, Agora, which will focus on diverse crime fiction. The first three titles will come out in fall 2019 under the direction of editor Chantelle Aimée Osman, former editor-in-chief of RT Book Reviews Magazine.
The lineup consists of “Three-Fifths” by John Vercher, which features a biracial man who learns that a childhood friend has become a neo-Nazi; “Remember” by Patricia Smith, about a woman dealing with a painful past; and “The Ninja Daughter” by Tori Eldridge, about a woman who decides to become a (literal) ninja after her sister is murdered.
“Crime fiction has always been able to explore real societal issues,” says Pinter. “You have writers like Dennis Lehane exploring gentrification, writers like Megan Abbott writing about issues that affect young women. Each shines a light into certain subject matter. And if you’re shining too narrow a light, you’re doing everyone a disservice.
“There are authors out there who don’t feel welcome because of a lack of representation in the crime-fiction genre. And with this [new imprint] we’re saying, ‘Not only are you welcome, you are needed.’”
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