Children's Book Writers society launches BAME scholarship

Children's Book Writers society launches BAME scholarship

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) will launch a BAME scholarship sponsored by the Bent Agency giving an aspiring author the chance to attend its conference and have their manuscript professionally critiqued.

The award is in addition to two other conference scholarships for a fiction author (YA or middle grade) and a picture book author or illustrator, both dedicated to the memory of writer, illustrator and SCBWI volunteer Margaret Carey.

The annual conference takes place from 25th to 26th November in Winchester, and theme is entitled ‘Seriously Funny: Bringing a Lighter Side to All Scribbles and Doodles’. It offers illustrators “the chance to hone their craft and gain insight into the children’s publishing industry”.

Each scholarship covers the cost of the conference attendance, a one-to-one manuscript critique with an editor, art director or agent, hotel accommodation, and a grant towards travel to Winchester, where the conference will take place.

The BAME scholarship winner’s manuscript critique will be with an agent from the Bent Agency and the literary agency will also pay for a year’s SCBWI membership.

Literary agent at the Bent Agency (TBA), Molly Ker Hawn, co-founded the Authors for Grenfell initiative raising £180,000 for the victims of the tragedy. She said: “We at TBA are delighted to be involved in SCBWI-BI’s effort to encourage BAME writers. It’s important to us that all children can find books in which they can see themselves, and that won’t happen without diverse authors.”

Natascha Biebow and Kathy Evans, co-chairs of the SCBWI British Isles, said they were “proud to support under-represented BAME children’s book authors”.

They said: “SCBWI’s international professional network and the development opportunities afforded by the annual conference have made a significant difference to SCBWI members’ careers and we are excited that we will be part of the scholarship winner’s journey to publication.”

For the Margaret Carey scholarships, current members of SCBWI British Isles who seek professional development and show “great promise” but are financially unable to attend the conference can apply.

The Bent Agency BAME scholarship is for both members and non-members in the British Isles from a BAME background. If the winner is already a SCBWI member, their membership will be extended by one year.

SCBWI members may apply for both the Margaret Carey scholarships and the BAME scholarship if they are eligible. Applicants for all scholarships can be unpublished, self-published or may previously have been traditionally published, though applicants for the BAME scholarship must be unagented.

Submissions are free and will be accepted until 26th August.

 For more information, visit this website.