All Stories announces first cohort of children’s writer mentees

Fourteen aspiring children's authors from underrepresented backgrounds will receive mentorships from expert editors, thanks to funding from Arts Council England and ALCS.

The inaugural group of writers are from a range of under-represented backgrounds, including BAME, LGBTQ, living with a disability and socio-economically marginalised. They are writing in a wide array of age groups and genres, including imagination-busting picture books, anarchic comedies, middle grade mysteries and YA thrillers – often inspired by their own background. Each writer will be mentored for six months by one of a team of freelance editors, whose combined experience totals over 250 years. The writers will attend carefully curated webinars by top in-house editors on topics including voice, and accessing the industry as an underrepresented writer. They will also receive a year’s membership to Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

The writers and their mentors are: Melissa Abraham (picture books), mentored by Jon Appleton; Dawn Amesbury (middle grade), mentored by Jon Appleton; Tracy Curran (picture books), mentored by Natascha Biebow; Jo Dearden (picture books), mentored by Helen Mortimer; Alison Dunne (middle grade), mentored by Jenny Glencross; Hannah Ekekwe (young adult), mentored by Genevieve Herr; Rebecca Ferrier (young adult), mentored by Tilda Johnson; Ikuko Ishiwaki (picture books), mentored by Niamh Mulvey; Suad Kamardeen (young adult), mentored by Emma Roberts; Mitchell Kamen (middle grade), mentored by Lucy Rogers; Lily Kerfoot (middle grade), mentored by Sara Grant; Reba Khatun (middle grade), mentored by Kathy Webb; Tasmia Tahia (young adult), mentored by Nicki Marshall; Thomas Thomasson (middle grade), mentored by Catherine Coe.

All Stories’ founder, children’s book editor Catherine Coe, said: “The industry reaction to the launch of All Stories in March was incredible – huge thanks to everyone who has supported it. The standard of the applications was very high, and while I wish we could give more people such opportunities, I am thrilled that this first cohort of talented writers will receive extensive support to develop their craft – support they would not have been able to access otherwise. My hope is that the programme helps to break down long-held barriers of privilege and background in the industry, improving the diversity of authors and representation in books for young readers.”

Patron, award-winning author Patrice Lawrence, said: “The quality of entries was so high, such a strong reminder of how many talented writers just need that little bit of extra support to help them into publishing. Congratulations to everyone!”

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