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An update on our open call for children’s fiction submissions from debut BAME writers

Children's fiction submissions

Last December I wrote on this blog that I was looking for children’s fiction submissions from debut BAME writers.

Here’s part of what I said at the time:

“I think that it’s incredibly important that our industry represents a wide range of voices, not only so that children from every background can recognise their own lives and experiences in the books that they read, but also simply to enrich the body of children’s literature that we publish, by moving out of a monoculture and embracing a wider world of ideas.

It’s an area in which we could definitely do better, which is why today I’m posting this open call for children’s fiction submissions (so, anything in the 5 – 12 age range, but I’d be especially interested in 9 – 12, aka “middle grade”) from BAME writers. I’m very happy to receive submissions from agented and un-agented authors – and although I’d particularly like to see children’s fiction submissions from debut writers, if you’ve already been published, I’d still be very pleased to hear from you!”

I didn’t give a closing date for this call for submissions (and I don’t intend to): I don’t think that the problem of a lack of representation in children’s books is one that could be solved in a four-week window, and I wanted this to be an ongoing, open-ended project. But I did think it might be interesting (to some people, at least) to give an update on what’s happened since the initial call for submissions, and what’s happening next.

Since the first blogpost, I’ve received over 250 submissions from BAME authors from all sorts of backgrounds – and while working my way through that many manuscripts felt like a slightly overwhelming task at times, it was one I hugely enjoyed: it was a real privilege to hear from so many people who trusted us with with their ideas.

And while I haven’t found anything yet that I felt was quite right for the Nosy Crow list, I have been hugely impressed by the overall standard of the submissions that I’ve received – and of those 250-ish submissions, I’ve requested full manuscripts for five. Those figures may seem dispiriting to an aspiring author, but actually, I’d say that they’re very good, and certainly better-than-average, odds: we receive several thousand submissions every year through our general submission policy (what’s known as the slush pile), and in Nosy Crow’s five years of publishing (and six years of existence), we’ve found a grand total of three fiction authors that way… so to request a full manuscript for one submission in fifty actually felt very positive to me!

And I’m absolutely not giving up on finding that special text through this project: the call for submissions from BAME debut authors is still very much open.

So, to reiterate, I’m looking for children’s fiction (not picture books) – from BAME authors. I can’t consider texts that have already been published, and although I’m particularly interested in seeing texts from debut authors, if you have already been published, I’d still be happy to hear from you. You can be agented or un-agented. I’ll consider writing in any genre.

If you’d like to submit something, you can email me at [email protected] – ideally with a synopsis and the first three chapters of your manuscript. I’ll reply to everyone who submits something, but it might take a week or so before you hear from me, so please don’t be discouraged if it takes a while!

If you have any questions, please do send me a message. And if you’ve written something, please send it in!

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