Penguin random house

The rise of the ‘sensitivity reader’

You probably won’t have heard about sensitivity readers, but across the pond they are already an essential part of fiction. Sensitivity readers are freelance copy editors who publishers pay to cancel-proof their new books. They read books that feature identities or experiences that are outside of the lived experience of the author. They then critique the writing through the prism of what they claim to be their own authoritative life experience to guide the author toward more authentic representation. For example, the white author Jodi Picoult used a sensitivity reader for her novel about a black nurse who cares for the children of white supremacists. For critics, these individuals are

The pathetic attempt to cancel Jordan Peterson

There was a time when publishers had to battle with external forces for their right to publish controversial authors. It was censorious politicians and moralistic campaigners who marshalled state power and boycotts to try to ensure that allegedly subversive or risqué material never saw the light of day. No longer. Today, it seems, it is often those within the publishing industry itself who seem intent on making sure that this or that ‘filth’ be banned. We’ve gone from the blue-rinse brigade to the blue-hair brigade, but the effect is still the same deadening intolerance. Witness the goings on at Penguin Random House Canada, where several staff members have confronted management


Five books Penguin will have to ban along with Jordan Peterson

This year Jordan Peterson, the cult Canadian psychologist, meat-eater and lifestyle guru, will tentatively edge back into the public spotlight, after spending time reportedly recovering from drug addiction in Russia. Readers may be familiar with Peterson’s self-help guide 12 Rules for Life, which sold over three million copies worldwide and topped the bestseller lists. So you would imagine that with the sequel out in March, most publishers would be clamouring to be the ones to sell it. But it appears that Penguin Random House, which managed to snag the rights, is now having the opposite problem. According to Vice News, its Canadian employees are in uproar about the company carrying