Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) is partnering with Commonword, the largest writing development organisation based in Manchester, in a bid to find more northern Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers currently under-represented in publishing, particularly in picture book writing.
Emma Layfield, HCG picture book development director, North, agreed with Pete Kalu, Commonword’s co-artistic director, that the publisher would review the organisation's best picture book writers every year. As part of HCG’s broader acquisition strategy to publish content from creators from the widest possible backgrounds, the partnership also involves meeting with potential authors—who must all be over 18 years old—on a one-to-one basis, and giving feedback and direction on their picture book texts.
In addition, there will be a picture book session with Commonword’s children’s writers, a writers’ day talking through the publishing process from start to finish, as well as opportunities for the chosen writers to visit Hachette’s offices to meet people from different areas of the business and see first-hand a day in the life of a publisher.
Layfield, who is based in Manchester, commented: "In my new role for Hachette Children’s Group, I am looking for exciting, diverse, new picture book writers from the North, so our parternship with Commonword is the perfect fit. They have a huge creative talent pool and we’re looking forward to working together in partnership."
Kalu said: "These are exciting times. We are delighted to be working with Hachette Children’s Group on this groundbreaking initiative that looks set to bring to fruition a fabulous new wave of picture book writers and boost the inclusivity of the picture book genre."
Commonword is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England and develops regional, national and international writing development programmes and collaborations. Cultureword is Commonword’s centre for Black creative writing.