Editor launches mentorship scheme for underrepresented children's writers

Editor launches mentorship scheme for underrepresented children's writers

Children’s book editor Catherine Coe has launched All Stories, a new mentorship programme for underrepresented children’s book writers.

The scheme will provide 14 free mentorships delivered by a group of expert editors. It is part-sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society while the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators will offer a year’s free membership to each mentee.

Coe said she launched the programme in a bid to tackle privilege and lack of diversity in the industry. She said: “Many, if not most, debut authors today are those who’ve been able to afford courses, mentoring and/or MAs. Change is essential if we want to improve the diversity of authors, and in turn ensure young readers see themselves reflected in the books they read.”

The six-month mentorships will be made available to aspiring, unagented children’s book writers from underrepresented backgrounds who are unable to pay for such support themselves. It is open to children's writers in any genre and age group, from picture books to YA novels.

Alongside the mentors, another seven in-house editors from publishers including Simon & Schuster Children's Books, Penguin Random House and Knights Of will present webinars on the industry and craft of writing. An online community will be available for the mentees, where they can discuss their work, raise questions, support each other and share experiences.

Patron Patrice Lawrence said: “Many talented writers aren't privileged enough to get support, and their stories are never seen. This is a much-needed project to help those hidden stories rise up.”

Applicants must submit a 5,000-word sample and synopsis, or a full picture book manuscript and applications will close at midnight on 31st May 2021. For more information, visit  the website. Anyone interested in offering funding to the project can contact Coe catherine@allstories.org.uk.