Meet our speakers: Joy Francis

Find out more about Joy Francis, who will be joining us for our BookTrust Represents training event in London on 28 September.

Joy Francis

Entrepreneur Joy Francis will be joining us in London on 28 September to run the Confidence Building for Creatives session.

Getting to know Joy

Who was your favourite author and/or illustrator when you were growing up and why?
Rosa Guy. She reflected a world that I recognised.

Who are your favourite children authors and/or illustrators now and why?
The collaboration between writer Nathan Bryon and illustrator Dapo Adeola is exciting. Look Up! is a delightful and visually rich book with a wonderful modern day heroine in the space-loving Rocket. A book loved by both me and my inner child. I also really like Parys Gardener's bold graphic illustrations.

What advice would you give to a new author and/or illustrator that you wish you had been given?
Trust in your (intuitive) gut and believe in your vision.

What has been your career high so far?
I am not an author, but I have facilitated, developed, promoted and collaborated with writers (primarily of colour) at all levels, of all genres, for nearly two decades. So I hope my career high has yet to come. At this point, it is seeing writers we have worked with, such as Patrice Lawrence and Alex Wheatle, doing incredibly well and presenting vital characters in children and YA literature. Also, collaborating with Jacaranda Books on its Twenty in 2020 initiative, which will publish 20 Black British authors in 2020, in partnership with Foyles and The London Library.

What are you currently reading?
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

Who or what inspires your work?
Anyone who trusts their authentic voice and takes risks to create work that both challenges and inspires me to interrogate who I am, what I do and what I can do.

Why are you supporting BookTrust Represents?
In the wake of the In Full Colour (2005) and Writing the Future (2015) reports highlighting the lack of 'diversity' in publishing, BookTrust Represents is adding fuel to the ongoing drive to disrupt the inexcusable inaction on true inclusivity in children's literature.

More about Joy

Joy Francis is a creative entrepreneur with a diverse career portfolio. She is founder and executive director of Words of Colour Productions, a creative communications agency that promotes, facilitates and develops writers of colour, of all genres, and collaborates with arts, creative and writing industries to increase cultural inclusion, co-founder and head of Digital Women UK, co-director of the Synergi Collaborative Centre and co-founder of the Black Love Project.

The former journalist and journalism lecturer was a script reader and judge for BBC Drama and the BBC Writersroom. She partnered with renowned virologist Dr Sheila Ochuboju to establish the first African Science Cafes for British Council Southern Africa, helped to establish the world's first Diversity and the Media MA at the University of Westminster in partnership with the Media Diversity Institute, and was the inaugural project manager for the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships, a partnership between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England.

A longstanding campaigner for inclusion in media and publishing, she worked with Spread the Word on initiating the Writing the Future report (2015). Joy and Word of Colour are currently collaborating with the award-winning independent publisher Jacaranda Books on its bold Twenty in 2020 initiative, to publish 20 Black British authors in 2020, in partnership with Foyles and The London Library. And she is partnering with Kickstarter UK on connecting writers and creatives of colour in Bristol to crowdfunding strategies.

Join us in London on 28 September

BookTrust Represents

Our three-year 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