Art is What We Buy


Literature and commercial publishing have a diversity problem. People of color and women are both in short supply. Rumpus contributor Daniel Peña, writing at Plougshares, offers a market-based explanation:

But I wonder how much these problems stem not from MFA whiteness, or the MFA system, or even publishing at large, but from the very narratives we crave—white, middle-to-upper brow, predominately heteronormative. That is to say, our narrative problem isn’t exclusively a white thing, or an MFA thing, or even a publishing thing, but an American thing. A money thing—this is what sells. This is what people crave.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →