All Stories, a mentorship and outreach program for aspiring children’s book authors from underrepresented groups, returns for a second year with an expanded program.
The program was launched last year and has welcomed 14 mentees. It is funded by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society and the Arts Council England, which has now doubled its investment.
Year two will offer 10 mentorships to mid-level and young adult fiction writers over nine months, evolving from the previous format where writers of all age groups were mentored together for six months. Picture books and young fiction writers will be supported the following year, on a rolling basis.
Each mentorship will be offered by an independent publisher, supported by seven webinars on crafting and demystifying the industry. A private online community will be established for all mentees, and each will receive a free one-year membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
In-person and online writing workshops will also be rolled out to encourage people from underrepresented groups to write for children. The in-person workshops will be piloted with Essex and Thurrock Libraries, with a view to expanding across the UK in the coming years.
Mentees will also be involved in organized sessions with sixth-grade students from underrepresented groups, to encourage them to consider a career in children’s books.
“I couldn’t be happier with how the first year of the All Stories program has gone – and how brilliantly it has been supported by people in the industry,” said Catherine Coe, Founder. from All Stories. “The 14 mentees have learned and developed so much, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for these incredibly talented writers. But we can’t stop there – we must continue to support and encourage writers from underrepresented groups if we really want to make lasting change and ensure that children’s books are truly inclusive and representative.
Apps closes June 30, with mentorships running from October 2022 to June 2023. Submissions are only open to non-agent, unpublished writers from underrepresented groups, resident in the UK.
Patrice Lawrence, All Stories boss and award-winning author, said: “I wish All Stories had been around when I started. As a black writer from a working-class family, I had absolutely no idea how to become a published author. I am so proud to be the sponsor of such a positive and successful program.