Aimée Felone is co-founder of Knights Of, an independent commercial children’s publisher committed to hiring diversely and commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds. She has worked at Eve White Agency, David Higham Associates and was assistant editor at Scholastic. She has always been a supportive and engaged voice within the industry, has tirelessly worked to promote diversity, and features on this year's FutureBook 40 list of top publishing innovators.
Here she shares five things inspiring her to think and work differently right now.
Hardware: Technically I haven’t actually got a portable charger, yet, but it’s on the top of my to-buy list once I’ve done enough research into which is the best. Despite having a pretty new iPhone, my battery can’t seem to handle the amount of emails, calls and live tweeting, so I’m going to avoid any last-minute running around trying to find a charger and just invest in a portable one instead.
Software: Basecamp is a great app on both my phone and laptop that allows me to manage deadlines and projects and share ideas with the team at Knights Of. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of people involved with making the books happen, running the #BooksMadeBetter blog and getting the Book Club organised, so it’s great to have a virtual office where all of our thoughts can be together.
Book: Hope is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei. I managed to nab a copy of this at Bologna Children’s Book Fair and devoured it on the plane home. It’s a beautiful story of a teenage girl that has to navigate life between Zimbabwe and London. It’s set against the political climate of Zimbabwe’s transition from Rhodesia, but is ultimately a touching story about friendship and what it means to face your everyday fears. I can’t recommend it enough!
Idea: The idea of children seeing themselves reflected in the books that we produce inspires me on a daily basis to work better and harder. To see the society that we live in represented in the authors that we publish and the people that work within the industry, are the driving ideas that motivate me to challenge the current publishing climate.
Person: Kendrick Lamar, rapper and songwriter and the recipient of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for music for his 2017 album Damn. He is known for his amazing lyricism and social commentary. It’s inspiring to me to see that the Pulitzer can open up their definitions of what and who their awards should be given to. It is my hope that in the same way the publishing industry can open itself up to new definitions of what an author should look like, what the role of the gatekeepers are and who should be working within its walls.