So I just went on Twitter and saw this:
Creative Access, the charity which brings young Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people into publishing internships, may lose its funding next year unless a new source is found.
I am not a publishing expert, nor am I a charities expert, but I am kind of an expert at being from an ethnic minority in and around children’s literature (reader, writer, bookseller, MA in Children’s Literature, etc.) and it is an absolute no-brainer that what Creative Access does is essential and must be funded.
These words from Helen Efange, quoted in the Bookseller article, say it all really: “I am the only (and maybe first) minority face within the book department” (at United Agents), “but hopefully I will not be the last.”
An absence of BAME writers for children is related to an absence of BAME people working in children’s publishing. Who is comfortable stepping into a space that seems so clearly to exclude them? And an absence of BAME writers for children is surely related to BAME children not seeing ‘writer’ as a possible option for them. How can you believe you have permission to write if you don’t see anyone like you writing? How can you feel at home in books? The question of who creates culture, who has the power of the storyteller, who keeps the gates to literature, is important. Stories create people as much as people create stories.
We need Creative Access to do this work for all of us.