Scholastic will next year publish a series of books about BAME protagonists from British history, with Bali Rai and Patrice Lawrence signed on to write the first titles.
In January Rai (pictured) will publish Voices: Now or Never, a Dunkirk Story, about a young Indian soldier at Dunkirk during the Second World War, then in May Patrice will release an as yet untitled book about a young African diver in Tudor Britain.
The books are the first two titles in the Voices series, developed by series editor-at-large Tony Bradman and Scholastic’s publisher of non-fiction and licensing, Elizabeth Scoggins.
“I am delighted to be part of the Voices series,” said Rai. “It is vital that these often overlooked stories are heard because our understanding of history can only benefit as a result. I have learned so much in writing my story and I hope that readers will too. Far too many historical voices have been ignored or forgotten and it is time to try and put that right. Series such as this one are a huge step in the right direction.”
Lawrence added: “I was 31 before I found out about Mary Seacole, a few years older when I discovered that Caribbean soldiers had signed up to fight in WW1 and been stationed in Seaford, just a few miles down the road from where I was born. The UK's history is shaped by people with roots across the world and I am proud to be one of the writers bringing these forgotten stories into the light.”
Scoggins acquired world rights for both titles. Rai is represented by Penny Luithlen at the Luithlen Agency and Lawrence by Caroline Sheldon at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.
More titles in the Voices series will be announced in due course.