#PassThePen unveils pairings taking part in campaign to promote authors and illustrators of colour

Published on: 12 November 2020 Author: Catriona Wightman

Famous faces such as Dermot O'Leary, Nadiya Hussain and Greg James and Chris Smith will be handing over their Instagram accounts to creators of colour as part of the #PassThePen initiative.

Jen Khatun and Nadiya Hussain, who are taking part in #PassThePen

BookTrust Represents and Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell have unveiled the pairs taking part in the #PassThePen initiative.

The new social media campaign aims to promote emerging children's authors and illustrators of colour by highlighting their work on Instagram.

Each day from 16-20 November, a famous face will hand over their Instagram account to one of more than 20 of the most dynamic up-and-coming creatives in the children's book world.

They will be able to use the platform to introduce themselves, showcase their work and share their inspirations.

The campaign is a partnership between BookTrust Represents and Cressida Cowell, whose Children's Laureate Charter includes: 'Every child has the right to see themselves in a book.'

The Boy at the Back of the Class author Onjali Q. Raúf, who will host author Sandra A. Agard on her Instagram account, said:

'By enabling those who have made it to forefront of the literary world to #passthepen to new hopefuls, this campaign can perhaps help do what the universe of literature always seeks to do, just that little bit faster: open our eyes, minds and hearts, to a galaxy of beautiful new stories, that otherwise and too often, may go unheard.'

The full #PassThePen schedule is as follows:

Monday 16 November

  • Jasbinder Bilan, author of Tamarind & The Star of Ishta (Chicken House), paired with Cressida Cowell
  • Aisha Bushby, author of Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found (Egmont), paired with Holly Smale
  • A.M. Dassu, author of Boy Everywhere (Old Barn Books), paired with Juno Dawson
  • Allen Fatimaharan, illustrator of Llama Out Loud! (Egmont) and My Hair (Faber), paired with Rob Biddulph
  • Margaret Sturton, author and illustrator of A Fox Called Herbert (Andersen Press), paired with Benji Davies

Tuesday 17 November

  • Hiba Noor Khan, author of The Little War Cat (Macmillan Children's Books), paired with Dermot O'Leary
  • Jen Khatun, illustrator of Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister (Walker Books), paired with Nadiya Hussain
  • Hannah Lee, author of My Hair (Faber), paired with Laura Dockrill
  • Annabelle Sami, author of Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds (Stripes) and Llama Out Loud! (Egmont), paired with Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Wednesday 18 November

  • Kereen Getten, author of When Life Gives You Mangoes (Pushkin Children's Books), paired with Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Onyinye Iwu, illustrator of Too Small Tola (Walker Books), paired with Dapo Adeola
  • Poonam Mistry, illustrator of You're Strong With Me (Lantana), paired with Chris Riddell
  • Serena Patel, author of Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne), paired with Robin Stevens

Thursday 19 November

  • Lucy Farfort, illustrator of Afraid of the Dark (Caterpillar Books), paired with Jim Field
  • Sharna Jackson, author of MICDROP: A High Rise Mystery (Knights Of), paired with Greg James & Chris Smith
  • EL Norry, author of Voices: Son of the Circus: A Victorian Story (Scholastic), paired with Katherine Rundell
  • Viola Wang, author/illustrator of Rabbit Bright (Hodder Children's Books), paired with Emily Gravett

Friday 20 November

  • Momoko Abe, author/illustrator of Avocado Asks (Orchard Books), paired with Jen Campbell
  • Sandra A. Agard author of Trailblazers: Harriet Tubman (Stripes), paired with Onjali Q. Raúf
  • Rashmi Sirdeshpande, author of Dosh (Wren & Rook) and author/illustrator of Never Show a T-Rex a Book (Puffin), paired with Holly Bourne

Alongside the Instagram takeovers, BookTrust will be sharing a Christmas reading list featuring titles from the authors and illustrators who are part of #PassThePen.

And Cressida Cowell will continue the work of #PassThePen by giving an author or illustrator space on her Instagram page every month.

The #PassThePen initiative comes as BookTrust Represents publishes its interim research report which shows there is still much work to be done to increase the numbers of authors and illustrators of colour working in children's books.

Download the BookTrust Represents Interim Research

Download the full #PassThePen press release

More about BookTrust Represents

More about the Waterstones Children's Laureate


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