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 jasmine@storymix.co.uk 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 james@thecatchpoleagency.co.uk with the subject 'Twitter submission'.

For writers only

BlackInk New Writing Competition 2020

What is it? Serendipity and Writing East Midlands are looking for creative writers from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora based in the UK to submit short stories. They're after stories on any subject, in any genre, up to 3,000 words.
What's on offer? The winning short stories will be published in BlackInk magazine for Black History Month in October 2020. The overall winner will receive £500 in prize money. Up to two runners-up will receive £250 each. In addition, all three will be given free entry to The Writers' Conference, which is organised annually by Writing East Midlands to give new writers access to leading publishing industry professionals.
How do I apply? Submissions close on Monday, 3 August 2020. You can visit the website for more information.

Faber Academy Scholarship 2020

What is it? Every year, Faber award free places on selected courses to writers who otherwise could not afford to attend. They particularly welcome applications from writers of colour, disabled writers and LGBTQ+ writers.
What's on offer? Scholarship places are available on Faber's flagship London course, Writing A Novel, and on Getting Started: Beginners' Fiction in London, as well as on their six-month online course, Writing A Novel: The First 15,000.
How do I apply? Visit Faber's website for more information. The deadline is Wednesday, 9 September 2020.

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 will offer detailed feedback on three picture book manuscripts followed by a shorter review on the revised manuscripts, as well as support on how to write cover letters for agents and publishers, and where to send them.
How do I get involved? For more information, visit Chitra's website or email her on chitra@chitrasoundar.com.

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 info@peepaltreepress.com for more information.


What is it? Untitled is a new kind of writer’s night: a platform for underrepresented writers to come and share their stories in a safe and intimate space.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information or email contact.untitledwriting@gmail.com.

The Literal Challenge – Scriptly Writing Challenge

What is it? In response to the effect Covid has had on the creative industry, this team wants to continue offering monthly challenges on a commit-what-you-can basis, so everybody is welcome.
What's on offer? A chance to learn new forms of writing, expand your writing portfolio and refresh your writing habits with daily briefs in this 14-day challenge. Emerging or established writers from BAME backgrounds are especially encouraged to take part.
How do I get involved? Visit the website for more information.

Five Quills BAME author opportunity

What is it? Five Quills, an independent children's publisher, are looking for a BAME author who would be interested to collaborate with them on writing and developing a young fiction series. You must be able to come up with compelling plot lines centred on everyday situations that a diverse group of children might encounter in their everyday lives – e.g. family, school, and friendship – and have an interest in hobbies, such as sports, dance, drama.
What's on offer? The successful author will collaborate with Five Quills and be published in this young fiction series.
How do I get involved? Please send 500 words with a biography, detailing publications to date, writing qualifications, and relevant interests and experience, and let us know why you think you are the right person to write this series and why you'd like to work with us. All entries should be submitted to info@fivequills.co.uk.
The deadline is Friday, 4 December, 2020. Please note: Only successful candidates will be contacted in the new year (January 2021).

For illustrators only

Pathways Forum

What is it? A selection of opportunities specifically for illustrators or those looking to learn more about children's illustration.
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