UNCANNY RESEMBLANCE: Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book alongside Ben Lindsay’s new release
THE AUTHOR of a new book on racism within the church has been accused of copying the design of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s bestselling book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
Ben Lindsay was celebrating the publication day of his book, We Need To Talk About Race, with an image of the cover on social media when Twitter users noticed an uncanny resemblance to Eddo-Lodge’s debut.
Lindsay’s book explores racism within the church in the UK, largely based on his personal experience of being a Christian, and now a pastor, in a majority white church.
Eddo-Lodge’s 2017 prize-winning book has been praised far and wide for its exploration of racism. It won the Jhalak Prize and the British Book Award for narrative non-fiction among other accolades.
“Have you thanked Reni anywhere for clearly being the inspiration for all of this?
“There are so many titles you could’ve had for this book since it’s about racism within the church like I dunno ‘Surprise! Jesus was Black’ or whatever but instead you riffed off Reni’s book and design. I need answers before God has to separate us in this fight,” wrote Kelechi, founder of Kelechnekoff Fitness Studio.
Responding to the accusations, Lindsay said that he had been inspired by Eddo-Lodge.
“Reni Eddo-Lodge has paved the way. As I’ve said in my introduction, she has been a huge inspiration and I greatly admire her,” Lindsay wrote on Twitter.
Eddo-Lodge described the title and cover design of Lindsay’s book as “disappointingly derivative” of her own and said she had not been contacted by Lindsay or his publisher in regards to the book, despite being cited as an inspiration for it.
“I recognise that imitation and comparison titles and covers are core to publishing’s business model…however, I think this close imitation is a missed opportunity for what has the potential to be a fresh take on an old problem,” she said in a statement.
Others agreed with the bestselling author.
“We already read this book by Reni Eddo-Lodge,” one critic wrote.
Some were more sympathetic towards Lindsay and suggested the design may have been out of his control.
“It is a blatant rip off and I wonder how much of the title and cover design were his decision. Publishers often have the final say on this. His editor seems to be @JulietTrickey, it might be worth asking her to comment,” one Twitter user said.
“It’s really unfair that your publishers made this error. They should have allowed this book to shine on its own terms,” another wrote.
“I can’t believe the amount of people that let this go through where is his editor?” one commenter said.
Author Otegha Uwagba said: “I feel a bit sorry for Ben Lindsay. It takes a village to publish a book, and his publishers shouldn’t have let this happen. Bear in mind he’s a first time author and as far as I can tell isn’t really in the ‘writing world’.”
Spck, the publisher’s of Lindsay’s debut, defended the similarities between the titles and covers in a statement.
“Ben is very forthcoming in his admiration of Reni’s book, referencing her in the introduction and throughout the rest of his book,” Spck said.
It added: “When approaching the cover design for Ben’s book, we were inspired by the posters used in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s which featured black text in capital letters on white backgrounds. Reni’s book, along with numerous other titles focused on race relations, share this same inspiration.”
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