#PassThePen: Emerging authors and illustrators of colour in the spotlight

Published on: 1 Mawrth 2024

Established authors and illustrators will be handing over their social media accounts to up-and-coming creators of colour as part of the World Book Day 2024 celebrations.

A photo of Davina Tijani and a photo of Natalie Denny, both of whom are taking part in #PassThePen

In a celebration of diversity and creativity, #PassThePen is back to celebrate World Book Day 2024.

Established by former Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell MBE and BookTrust Represents, this initiative launched in 2020 and is dedicated to championing and amplifying the voices of emerging authors and illustrators of colour.

Over two weeks leading up to World Book Day on 7 March, future literary stars will take over the social media accounts of established and much-loved authors and illustrators.

#PassThePen allows new and talented creatives to introduce themselves, share their inspirations and showcase their work to new audiences.

The brilliant pairings taking part this year are:

  • Sophy Henn who will pass the pen to Davina Tijani
  • Tom Percival who will pass the pen to Sarah Christou
  • Pippa Goodhart who will pass the pen to Mariesa Dulak
  • Nick Sharratt who will pass the pen to Jobe Anderson
  • Swapna Haddow who will pass the pen to Natalie Denny
  • Sir Lenny Henry who will pass the pen to Maria Motunrayo Adebisi
  • Natalie Smillie who will pass the pen to Jessica Louis
  • Katie & Kevin Tsang who will pass the pen to Zohra Nabi
  • AM Dassu who will pass the pen to Ann Sei Lin
  • Joseph Coelho who will pass the pen to Niall Moorjani

Lizzie Catford, Director of Children's Books at BookTrust, said: "We are thrilled to once again bring together established authors, illustrators and emerging talents in this way.

"#PassThePen not only promotes diversity and visibility in the industry but also creates a vibrant space where new voices can really be heard.

"By partnering with World Book Day, we hope audiences are encouraged and excited to seek out new authors and illustrators so we can continue to celebrate the richness of varied stories and expansive storytelling."

The authors and illustrators taking part in Pass the Pen in 2024 - Davina Tijani, Sarah Christou, Mariesa Dulak, Jobe Anderson, Natalie Denny, Maria Motunrayo Adebisi, Jessica Louis, Zohra Nabi, Ann Sei Lin, and Niall Moorjani

Davina Tijani, who will be taking over Sophy Henn's account, said she was "over the moon" to be involved.

"I remember when the initiative was launched and thought it was a brilliant idea," she added. "Having seen the last couple of years' takeovers across social media of authors I love and respect sharing their accounts with emerging authors has been phenomenal.

"It is such a great way to boost up-and-coming authors whilst sharing their works with larger audiences. I am hoping to connect with more people through Sophy's account and showcase myself, and my series Yomi and the Nkara Chronicles on a bigger stage."

Meanwhile, Natalie Denny - who will take over Swapna Haddow's account - added that she feels "honoured" to be part of #PassThePen.

"It was a lovely surprise and I think the initiative is excellent!" she said. "It's so important to highlight diverse books and promote inclusive stories.

"I am most looking forward to introducing the Keisha Jones books to new readers and connecting with other wonderful authors and illustrators."

Join in the conversations online by following the hashtag #PassThePen.

Find out more about BookTrust Represents

BookTrust Represents

BookTrust Represents has been created to promote and improve the representation of people of colour in children’s books.

It is important that all children have the opportunity to read a diverse range of books where they and their communities are represented.

Find out more