Patrice Lawrence, Joy Francis and Elizabeth Bananuka are among the mentors leading the first round of training sessions for BookTrust Represents, a project to help promote and develop children's authors and illustrators of colour.
The free one-day training events will be held in Bradford and London in September, with aspiring creatives getting the chance to learn about the ins and outs of the industry, from growing their profile, building their confidence, how to run a school visit, working with agents, how to source funding opportunities and tips and tricks for sustaining a career in children’s books. These taster sessions will be followed by further free in-depth topic-specific workshops for aspiring children’s authors and illustrators of colour over the next two years.
Agents Davinia Andrew-Lynch and Penny Holroyde-Cartey and Sarah Baxter from the Society of Authors, will join Orangeboy (Hodder Children's) author Patrice Lawrence, Joy Francis of Words of Colour, and BME PR Pros founder Elizabeth Bananuka, as well as a host of other authors and industry experts.
BookTrust's director of children’s books Jill Coleman said: “These events are just the start for BookTrust Represents. There is a host of untapped emerging talent out there that we want to help harness and grow. We want aspiring authors and illustrators to learn and develop, and what better way to do that than from those who have come before them. These training and mentoring sessions will give them a much-needed insight into the industry and a taster of the in-depth workshops we will be offering over the next two years.”
BookTrust Represents is a three-year initiative led by the UK’s largest children’s reading charity to support authors and illustrators of colour to promote their work and reach more readers through events in bookshops, festivals and schools, as well as offering training and mentoring for less experienced authors and illustrators. BookTrust’s aim is that by 2022, the number of authors and illustrators of colour in the UK will have increased from less than 6% to 10%.
Bananuka added: “BookTrust's research earlier this year highlighted the shocking lack of published authors and illustrators of colour in the UK, which isn't to say they don't exist, just that they don't necessarily have access to the industry. In fact, we’re overflowing with an enormous amount of homegrown talent in Britain which BookTrust’s training workshops will help to harness; offering aspiring and established creatives practical, tangible tips and advice for building connections, sourcing funding and developing and sustaining their careers as the children’s book creators of the future. I’m incredibly excited to be leading one of the sessions to help get them started on their next chapter.”