Opportunities for writers and illustrators of colour

If you’re a writer or illustrator looking for resources and support to spotlight your work, look no further...

For writers and illustrators

Speaking Volumes: Breaking New Ground Brochure

What is it? Over 100 authors and illustrators of colour creating books for children and teenagers.
Where can I find it? Take a look at https://issuu.com/speaking_volumes/docs/breaking_ground_final_singles

Knights Of: open call for submissions

What is it? An open call for children’s story pitches from authors and illustrators to publishers Knights Of.
What’s on offer? Live chat and potential to publish.
How do I apply? Visit the website for more information.

Story Mix

What is it? A children's fiction development company with a focus on inclusive representation in the stories we craft.
What’s on offer? Emerging or established writers or illustrators from BAME backgrounds work with Story Mix to create a superior quality, high-concept book series for publishers.
How do I get involved? Visit the website or email jasmine@storymix.co.uk for more information.

For writers only

WriteMentor Children's Novel Award 2020

What is it? An award looking for entries from any unagented or unpublished writer of picture books, middle grade or YA fiction of any genre.
What's on offer? The winner receives £500 and a trophy, and they are also offering a one-year mentorship with #WriteMentor Spark at Level 3, worth £480, for the best-placed entry featuring a BAME main character, written by a BAME author.
How do I apply? Submissions close January 31 2020. Visit the website for more information.

Swanwick Writing for Children Competition

What is it? Swanwick Summer School is a week-long programme for writers
What's on offer? Win a fully inclusive week at the 2020 Summer School, Writing Magazine manuscript appraisal for second prize, and a copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2020 for third prize. 
When does it close? 30 April 2020
How do I apply? Visit the website for more information. 

The Diverse Book Awards

What is it? A brand new award to highlight the best of the diverse voices published in the UK during 2019, both traditionally and self-published.
How do I apply? Authors and publishers can submit any YA or Adult fiction book published in 2019 that features BAME and/or inclusive main characters. Entries open January 13 and submissions close May 31 2020. Visit the website for more information.

The Times/ Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2020

What is it? Chicken House are looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love - with particular interest in hearing from BAME writers and others from underrepresented backgrounds.
What's on offer? First prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000, plus an offer of representation from top literary agent, Kate Shaw of the Shaw Agency.
How do I apply? Submissions close 4 May 2020. Visit the website for more information.

Hashtag Blak

What is it? A new publisher looking for Black British writers of middle grade fiction (8-12 years), YA and Adult Fiction.
What's on offer? An open submission policy, so you do not need to be agented to apply.
How do I apply? Visit the website for more information.

Penguin's How to Get Published

What is it? A writer's guide to the world of publishing - a new online resource available now
How do I access it? Visit the website to view the guide.


What is it? Megaphone is a writer development scheme, giving support to BAME (Black, Asian or other Minority Ethnic) writers as they write their first novel for children or teenagers.
How do I apply? Contact Leila and visit the website for further details. 


What is it? The Leading Platform for Black Women & Women of Colour Writers Around the World.
What's on offer? Creative writing courses, editorial services, book reviews, masterclasses, online literary magazines and more.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information.

Regional literature development agencies

  1. Literature Works
  2. New Writing North 
  3. New Writing South
  4. Spread the Word (London) 
  5. Writing East Midlands 
  6. Writing West Midlands 

Literary Natives

What is it? A network of writers of colour from every corner of the industry, including fiction, poetry, screenwriting, journalism, spoken word and theatre.
What’s on offer? Tailored events to network with other writers of colour and get advice from publishing industry professionals.
How can I get involved? Join their mailing list, by going to their website, to stay updated on events. 

The Future Bookshelf

What is it? As part of Hachette, one of the UK’s biggest publishers, they aim to demystify publishing and guide you through the process of writing, editing, submitting and publishing, so you know what to expect and how to succeed.
What’s on offer? Advice from authors and publishing opportunities.
How do I get involved? Visit the website.


What is it? A writer development programme and imprint of Peepal Tree Press, supporting Black British writers of African and Asian descent in England.
What’s on offer? Coaching, mentoring, workshops, residentials, training, newsletters, publications and general advice.
How do I get involved? Visit the website or email info@peepaltreepress.com for more information.


What is it? Untitled is a new kind of writer’s night: a platform for underrepresented writers to come and share their stories in a safe and intimate space.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information or email contact.untitledwriting@gmail.com.

For illustrators only

Pathways Forum

What is it? A selection of opportunities specifically for illustrators or those looking to learn more about children's illustration.
How do I find out more? Visit the Pathways Forum website.

The Book Illustration Competition 2020

What is it? An annual international competition open to illustrators over the age of 18, both student and professional, who have not been previously published by The Folio Society. Illustrations welcome for a new collection called Love Poems.
What’s on offer? The winner receives a highly sought-after commission and will be paid £5,000 to complete a total of nine illustrations and a binding design for the book, which is then published by The Folio Society. Five runners-up will each receive £500.
How do I apply? Visit the website for more information. Submissions close Friday 17 January 2020.

Association of Illustrators

What is it? The professional body for illustration in the UK.
What’s on offer? Contract and business information, online resources, social media promotion and much more.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information.

Derwent Art Prize

What is it? This prize aims to reward excellence by showcasing the very best 2D & 3D artworks created in pencil or coloured pencil, as well as water soluble, pastel, graphite and charcoal by British and International artists.
What’s on offer? Eighty works will be selected for display at the Mall Galleries in central London. In addition, prizes totalling over £12,500 will be awarded in an awards ceremony on the opening night of the exhibition.
When does it close? 17 February 2020
How do I apply? Visit the website for more information.

The V&A Illustration Awards 2020

What is it? The UK's most prestigious annual illustration competition. The Awards celebrate excellence in student illustration and three categories of contemporary practice: book cover design, book illustration and illustrated journalism.
What's on offer? Each winner receives £3,000 and the overall winner receives an additional £5,000. The student runner-up will receive £2,000. Winning work will be displayed at the V&A museum.
How do I apply? Submissions close Monday 16 December 2019 at 14:00; visit the website for more information.

The Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize

What is it? A prize is open to artists that show significant potential, interesting ideas, a relevant message and skilful execution.
What’s on offer? £3,000 cash prize award, and £500 Cass Art voucher, and an exhibition of a collection of your artworks in the Ashurst Emerging Artists Gallery.
How do I apply? Enter by Sunday, December 15 2019 to receive detailed feedback on your entry. Submission Deadline: Sunday, January 19 2020, 23:59 (GMT). Visit the website for more information.

Women Who Draw

What is it? An open directory of female illustrators.
How do I join? Visit the website to sign up.

BookTrust Represents

Our project promotes and supports children’s authors and illustrators of colour, so young readers find the books that represent them.

Learn more about BookTrust Represents