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 [email protected] for more information.

The Catchpole Agency

What is it? A family-run literary agency based in Oxford that specialises in children's books - they're now opening submissions from Black authors and illustrators. 
What's on offer?
 Submissions are currently closed at The Catchpole Agency due to COVID-19, but they're temporarily opening them for Black authors and illustrators. Given the current circumstances, they're unlikely to take on any new clients, but they are offering feedback and guidance.
How do I get involved?
Email [email protected] with the subject 'Twitter submission'.

For writers only

Mentoring for picture book writers from Chitra Soundar

What is it? Author and storyteller Chitra Soundar has published over 20 picture books, and is now offering mentoring for picture book writers.
What's on offer? Chitra has worked with many writers to help them edit and polish their picture book texts. As part of critique groups and as a mentor one to one, she has given feedback to a number of writers who are dipping their toes into picture books. However at this time, Chitra is unable to take on new clients due to her own writing commitments. 
How do I get involved? If you'd like to discuss a future arrangement or need advice on who else is offering mentoring, please do get in touch via http://www.chitrasoundar.com/writing/picture-book-mentoring/

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 [email protected] for more information.

Lit Up with ND PR

What is it? ND PR has created a growing series of courses that aim to support writers and illustrators by offering practical advice and assistance to help creatives in their PR and promotion.
What’s on offer? 
A series of virtual courses to help authors and illustrators better understand what would suit their needs and goals in terms of PR and media attention, to take control and take the initiative where necessary, and to provide more useful and focused information when working with their publishers.
How do I get involved?
 Visit the website for more information.

Black Bee Books

What is it? New Welsh publisher Black Bee Books is looking for under-represented voices in Wales. If you write YA (fiction and non-fiction) and think your work fits the bill you can email your work in a PDF format to [email protected].
What’s on offer? The possibility of having your children’s book published by a new publisher whoaims to work with authors that reflect the wide range of communities in Wales, and publish titles that resonate with a diverse readership.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information. 


What is it? A mentoring scheme for children's book authors run by Penguin Random House UK.
What’s on offer? All applicants will be invited to a free online workshop on demystifying the children’s publishing industry. Fifty shortlisted writers will then go on to receive one-on-one, tailored feedback on their manuscript from Ladybird and Puffin editors. A final five writers will then be invited to take part in the year-long WriteNow editorial programme when they will be paired with an editor to develop their manuscript further, with the ultimate goal of securing a literary agent and being published by Puffin or Ladybird.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information.

The deadline is Sunday, 11th July 2021.

Writing Children's Picture Books by Julia Donaldson

What is it? An online writing course presented by multi-awarding winning children's book writer Julia Donaldson.
What’s on offer? Step by step, Julia will supply you with industry tips and guidance on how to write books that appeal to the ears and mind of the child listener, the adult who'll read the story aloud – and the people who make them. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out writing, have a few books under your belt or are a curious onlooker, this course celebrates the magic of picture books, the connections they form and demystifies the production process.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information.

The deadline is N/A, one-off purchase, lifetime access.

For illustrators only

Pathways Forum

What is it? Pathways Into Children’s Publishing is a ground-breaking two-year illustration course for talented and aspiring artists who are currently under-represented in children’s publishing. It is specifically for artists of colour, disabled artists, neurodivergent artists, and migrant artists with UK refugee and asylum seeker heritage, aged 21 and up. 
What’s on offer? The programme is designed and run by Pop Up Projects and taught by industry professionals from over 20 award-winning publishers and lecturers from some of the UK's leading universities.
How do I find out more? Visit the Pathways Forum website.

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.

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