Stripes, an imprint of the Little Tiger Group, will this year publish a BAME YA anthology of short stories by authors such as Patrice Lawrence, Nikesh Shukla and Lemn Sissay, as well as several unpublished writers.
The idea behind A Change is Gonna Come came about in response to the lack of diversity in publishing, according to Stripes commissioning editor Ruth Bennett.
“Over the past year, the publishing industry has woken up to the need for change and it's clear that we must all work together to make it happen,” she said. “There's a lack of diversity at every level – from industry professionals to authors and illustrators; from the stories we publish to the readers they reach. A Change is Gonna Come features a selection of award-winning authors but we also see this project as an opportunity to discover and nurture new BAME writers. Our hope is that the anthology will launch several long and successful careers."
The theme of the book is ‘change’ and the purpose of the book is to represent and celebrate diverse voices. However, the authors have been given the freedom to “interpret the theme however they are inspired to do so”, according to Stripes.
Contributors will also include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Ayisha Malik and Irfan Master, as well as unpublished and un-agented writers who can submit their stories via the website. Any BAME writers who want to submit must send a 2,000-5,000 word story to firstname.lastname@example.org by 28th February. More details can be found on the Stripes website.
The entries will be judged by members of the Stripes team as well literary agent Julia Kingsford and Sarah Shaffi, online editor of The Bookseller and co-founder of the BAME in Publishing network.
Stripes is also looking for an aspiring editor from a BAME background to shadow Bennett in the editorial process.
The book is the second YA anthology from Stripes. Last year the publisher released a book around the theme of being at home for Christmas to raise money for Crisis. I’ll Be Home For Christmas featured stories by Holly Bourne, Sarah Crossan, Melvin Burgess, Julie Mayhew, Benjamin Zephaniah and unpublished writer Tracy Darnton, who has since been signed by literary agent Jo Williamson. Stripes has now acquired Darnton’s first novel.
A Change is Gonna Come will be published on 10th August 2017 with a cover illustrated by Lucy Banaji.