Meet our speakers: Sarah Baxter
Find out about Sarah Baxter, who will be joining us at our BookTrust Represents training event in London.
Sarah Baxter, an adviser to the Society of Authors, will be joining us at our training day in London for a session on entrepreneurship and funding opportunities.
Getting to know Sarah
Who was your favourite author and/or illustrator when you were growing up and why?
As a young child, Judith Kerr. Poor misunderstood Mog! I still can't put my finger on why her illustrations make me want to cry and laugh in equal measure, but that was and is still what draws me to them. Later favourites were Shirley Hughes, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl (& Quentin Blake)...
Who are your favourite children's authors and/or illustrators now and why?
Now that I'm reading aloud to my young daughter, I'm drawn to rhyme and poem (e.g. Nicola Davies' Book of the Sea, beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton) and I also love Catherine Rayner's mischievous characters like Solomon Crocodile – great for putting on different voices, and gorgeous, expressive illustrations.
What advice would you give to a new author and/or illustrator that you wish you had been given?
I'm not an author or illustrator, but the best advice... join the Society of Authors as soon as you can!
What are you currently reading?
What Not by Rose Macaulay; An Edited Life by Anna Newton; and there's always cookery writing to dip into – Nigel Slater, Kate Young's Little Library Café...
Why are you supporting BookTrust Represents?
Because diversity among creators, audiences and industry professionals is essential for ensuring that the benefits of cultural participation are shared by all. According to a survey conducted as part of Arts Council England's report Literature in the 21st Century, 73% of respondents felt that there was an issue with the representation of BAME voices in literary fiction.
A 2018 study found that just 1% of British children's books feature a main character who is black or minority ethnic. This must change so that literature reflects the make-up of the society we live in - if audiences feel that culture reflects and speaks to their own experience, they are more likely to engage.
As an organisation and as individuals we must take steps to open the creative industries up more widely and welcome new entrants irrespective of race, nationality, class, age, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
More about Sarah
Sarah Baxter advises members of the Society of Authors on publishing contracts and issues, administers its contingency grants for writers in need, and handles print permissions and amateur stage licencing for the Society's literary estates department, which represents writers including Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, John Masefield and Walter de la Mare.
The SoA is a trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. It has been advising individuals and a voice for the profession for more than a century. Alongside its campaigning and lobbying work, it supports writers at all stages of their career through its extensive portfolio of grants and prizes.