Birmingham-based independent publisher The Emma Press has been awarded nearly £15,000 from Arts Council England to help it grow as an inclusive children’s publisher.
Founded by Emma Wright in 2012, initially specialising in poetry and short stories, the press been building a children’s book list since 2015, with poetry anthologies, collections, and translations.
This grant will help The Emma Press to develop its children’s publishing activities, allowing it to reach wider audiences, learn about the industry and increase its capacity. It includes partnerships with two libraries, Staffordshire Libraries and Telford & Wrekin Libraries, and the publication of six upcoming children’s books from The Emma Press with accompanying events in schools and libraries.
The £15,000 grant from ACE will also help to develop The Emma Press team by organising work placements in bigger publishers to learn more about children’s publishing. Yen-Yen Lu, a freelancer who works with The Emma Press, will be doing a work placement at Andersen Press from April 2019.
The six books to be published through the grant include story collection The Adventures of Na Willa by Reda Gaudiamo (translated by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul and Kate Wakeling), picture book When It Rains, Rassi Narika (translated by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul and Emma Wright), poetry anthology Dragons of the Prime edited by Richard O’Brien and a collection of poems Super Guppy by Edward van de Vendel (translated by David Colmer). Also on the list are Incredible Insects edited by Isabel Galleymore and Fran Long and Poems the Wind Blew In by Karmelo C Iribarren (translated by Lawrence Schimel).
Publisher Wright said: “Books are vital in shaping childrens’ worldviews and it’s the responsibility of the children’s book industry to make sure that the books being published reflect the realities of as many children’s lives as possible. It’s damaging on a profound level when you never see anyone like yourself within books or creating books, and it’s also incredibly valuable to be exposed to different people’s experiences and see the world through different eyes."
She added: "Everyone benefits from more inclusive and diverse children’s books, and I want The Emma Press to be part of the change. The aim of this project is to learn as much as possible about the children’s book industry, and how books reach children.”
The first full children’s collection to be published by Emma Press, Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling, won the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) for best children’s poetry book in 2017.