A sensitivity reader is someone who reads for offensive content, misrepresentation, stereotypes, bias, lack of understanding, etc. They create a report for an author and/or publisher outlining the problems that they find in a piece of work and offer solutions in how to fix them. By doing this, the literary quality of a work is substantially improved.
A sensitivity reader will often come from a specific Nation or community that the author is writing about. They will include academic as well as personal experience in their reading. It is suggested that an author hire more than one sensitivity reader, especially if they are writing about a culture that they are not familiar with. Although many individuals may come from the same cultural group, we are all shaped by the Land that we were raised with and different personal experiences.
Before approaching, consider the following (Sylvester 2017):
After going through this list, you may find that you need a sensitivity reader to help you with your work. Here are some tips that will help you find who you are looking for:
Note: Once you find a sensitivity reader, develop a relationship with them and nurture it throughout your work with them. Many Indigenous cultures operate on relationality and reciprocity. This means that you might be sitting down, drinking tea -- and that's okay (and often expected).
Sensitivity Readers tend to have the following characteristics (Marks 2018):
If you see yourself in these categories, you may have what it takes. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you along the way: