Cowell launches campaign to highlight children's authors and illustrators of colour

Cowell launches campaign to highlight children's authors and illustrators of colour

A campaign designed to help create visibility and generate book sales for emerging children's authors and illustrators of colour has been launched by BookTrust Represents and Waterstones children’s laureate Cressida Cowell (pictured).

It sees new talent paired with established, high-profile authors and illustrators, for a day's takeover of their partners’ Instagram platform, sharing information about themselves and their work. The week-long campaign will run from 16th–22nd November, featuring a range of genres from picture books to YA.

Some of the authors and illustrators already confirmed to share their Instagram platforms as part of the campaign include Nadiya Hussain, Rob Biddulph, Dapo Adeola, Greg James, Onjali Rauf, Dermot O’Leary, Holly Bourne, Chris Riddell and Juno Dawson.

UK publishers wanting to take part are now invited to submit titles first published in the UK between 1st September 2019 and 30th November 2020 by authors and illustrators of colour based in the UK.

Cowell will host a different author or illustrator each day throughout the week and will run a monthly social media guest takeover. It follows on from point five of her Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter that “every child has the right to see themselves reflected in a book”.

Alongside the takeover, Cowell and BookTrust Represents will curate a Christmas reading list selected from the titles submitted for the campaign. This will be released on 16th November, alongside a Twitter drive supported by Alex Wheatle, Candy Gourlay, Floella Benjamin and Nikesh Shukla encouraging further recommendations of books by authors and illustrators of colour.

Indigo Williams, BookTrust Represents project manager, said: “We started BookTrust Represents with a clear aim to level the playing field across the industry. This campaign will connect new voices with seasoned writers to #passthepen and give emerging authors and illustrators a platform to showcase their talent and to reach new audiences. BookTrust Represents supports and subsidises authors and illustrators of colour, promoting their work through events (both virtually and in person) in bookshops, schools and festivals. We also offer free training for less experienced writers and illustrators. BookTrust is passionate about creating real change and we are pleased to be partnering with Waterstones children's laureate Cressida Cowell to champion new voices and ensure that children across the UK can see themselves and their world reflected in the books and authors they read.”

For further information and submissions forms, email childrens.laureate@booktrust.org.uk. Authors and illustrators can also submit individually on the BookTrust Represents Facebook group. Submissions must be received by 14th October 2020.