Malorie Blackman Fights Back After Inaccurate Headline Incites Racist Abuse

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The children's laureate Malorie Blackman says she will not let "haters" silence her after an inaccurate headline on Sky News led to the author receiving a barrage of racist abuse on Twitter. Blackman, whose novels tackle race and identity, had highlighted the need for more diversity in literature though Sky ran a headline claiming the author said children's books "have too many white faces."

Sky NewsSky News headquarters [Getty/AFP]

"You want to escape into fiction as well and read about other people, other cultures, other lives, other planets and so on," she had told Sky, "I think there is a very significant message that goes out when you cannot see yourself at all in the books you are reading."

However, Twitter users used the headline - presented erroneously as a direct quote - as grounds for a barrage of racist vitriol. Sky News reporter Richard Suchet tweeted that the headline was indeed "inaccurate" and blamed "sloppiness" for the mistake.

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"Errors are unforgivable in our industry. An apology rarely suffices," he wrote.

After briefly leaving Twitter, Blackman returned on Tuesday morning to speak about how she was "so overwhelmed and humbled by the messages of support and love I've received since I posted my last tweet," adding: "I only meant to take a few days' break to write an article about this whole issue. Racists and haters will never make me run away. Ever!"

Blackman continued: "...hell will freeze over before I let racists and haters silence me. In fact, they just proved to me that I was right to speak out. So thanks so much everyone for your support. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I walk hand in hand with you. #WeNeedDiverseBooksUK."

Blackman, who was made children's laureate last year, has written over 50 books including the award-winning Noughts and Crosses series which imagines a world where the black ruling class look down on the white Noughts.


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