BookTrust Represents and Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell team up to promote authors and illustrators of colour with #PassThePen

Published on: 05 October 2020

Top authors and illustrators will hand over their Instagram accounts to emerging creators of colour for the #PassThePen campaign.

The logos for BookTrust Represents and Waterstones Children's Laureate plus the #PassThePen hashtag

BookTrust Represents and Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell have teamed up to launch a campaign promoting authors and illustrators of colour.

#PassThePen will pair emerging talent with high-profile stars, who will give up their Instagram platform for a day so that new creators can share information about themselves and their work.

Some of the stars already confirmed to be taking part in #PassThePen, which will run from 16-22 November, include Nadiya Hussain, Rob Biddulph, Dapo Adeola, Greg James, Onjali Q. Raúf, and Dermot O'Leary.

Chris Smith, Holly Bourne, Chris Riddell, Juno Dawson, Laura Dockrill, Benji Davies, Jim Field, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Holly Smale are among the other names who have also signed up to hand over their Instagram accounts.

Meanwhile, Cressida will host a different author or illustrator each day throughout the week, and will continue the #PassThePen on a monthly basis after that.

One of the times on her Laureate Charter, unveiled when she took over the role last year, is that 'every child has the right to see themselves reflected in a book'.

Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell

Following the #PassThePen takeover week, she will also team up with BookTrust Represents to create a Christmas reading list selected from the titles highlighted in the campaign.

Launched on 16 November, the booklist will be supported by a social media campaign - with backing from authors like Alex Wheatle, Candy Gourlay, Floella Benhamin and Nikesh Shukla - to encourage further recommendations of books by creators of colour.

'We started BookTrust Represents with a clear aim to level the playing field across the industry,' said BookTrust Represents Project Manager Indigo Williams.

'This campaign will connect new voices with seasoned writers to #passthepen and give emerging authors and illustrators a platform to showcase their talent and to reach new audiences.

'BookTrust Represents supports and subsidises authors and illustrators of colour, promoting their work through events (both virtually and in person) in bookshops, schools and festivals. We also offer free training for less experienced writers and illustrators.

'BookTrust is passionate about creating real change and we are pleased to be partnering with Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell to champion new voices and ensure that children across the UK can see themselves and their world reflected in the books and authors they read.'

Submissions are now open

UK publishers are now invited to submit titles by authors and illustrators of colour to feature in the #PassThePen campaign.

The books need to have been published between 1 September 2019 and 30 November 2020, and only authors or illustrators of colour with four or fewer titles published will be eligible.

Further information and submission forms can be obtained by emailing childrens.laureate@booktrust.org.uk, or authors and illustrators can submit individually on the BookTrust Represents Facebook group. Submissions must be received by 14 October 2020.

Download the full press release

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BookTrust Represents

BookTrust Represents is a four-year project created to promote children’s authors and illustrators of colour.

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