Blake Friedmann offering work shadowing for people of backgrounds ‘under-represented in publishing’

The well-known literary agency Blake Friedmann have re-opened applications for the  Carole Blake Open Doors Project – a two week, all-expenses-paid work shadowing scheme for candidates from backgrounds that are under-represented in publishing. There are more details here:  . The deadline for applications is 18th May.

More about the scheme from Hattie Grunewald at the agency:

The Carole Blake Open Doors Project, is a programme specifically aimed at encouraging candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds to enter the publishing industry. Carole Blake was born in south London, and grew up in a house which did not have many books. When she left school at the age of sixteen with hopes of becoming a librarian, she found a job as secretary at George Rainbird Publishing. The experience kick-started her love of art, broadened her education, and introduced her to the classics. She moved to Michael Joseph in 1970, becoming the publisher’s first Rights Manager, and in 1975 joined Sphere Publishing to run their rights, contracts and publicity teams. After founding her own literary agency with some of the authors she’d come to know and love, Carole merged agencies with Julian Friedmann in 1982 to create the Blake Friedmann Agency.

The Carole Blake Open Doors Project will offer ten days of work shadowing to a selected applicant over a two-week period, including funding for travel and up to twelve nights’ accommodation in London. The programme, which will run twice a year, will include close mentorship with Blake Friedmann’s book agents, the opportunity to attend selected meetings with editors and clients, and the chance to be involved in every aspect of day-to-day life as an agent. It is intended that candidates will come away from the project with varied knowledge of working for a leading literary agency, the beginnings of new and essential relationships in the publishing industry, and some excellent experience to include on their CVs.

“Carole offered me my first internship in publishing at Blake Friedman. She was a formidable figure, yet warm and funny. She was deeply encouraging to me as one from a diverse background based on my age, class and race – though it was our mutual love of a great pair of shoes that really sealed the deal!  An unforgettable, truly phenomenal woman.” – Valerie Brandes, Founder & Publisher, Jacaranda Books, and former BFA intern
Carole Blake and the Blake Friedmann team have always placed great value on diversity and openness, in the company’s client list as well as its hiring practices. We aim to build on this foundation and be proactive about drawing from a wider pool of talented applicants who are passionate about books and ambitious about getting a job in publishing.

You can read an account of taking part in the project from our first Open Doors intern Ada Igwebu here.

Skylark Literary sponsoring a place on the Book Bound writers’ retreat

Skylark Literary are generously sponsoring a place on the Book Bound Writers’ Retreat in order to advance and support inclusivity within children’s publishing.

Amber and Jo of Skylark say, ‘We firmly believe that children’s publishing would be all the richer for the inclusion of more diverse voices. We’ve long been considering what we can do to help achieve a more even playing field for all aspiring children’s writers, no matter their background or financial position. The Book Bound team are experts in giving authors the skills to strengthen their craft and, hopefully, develop writing careers. We are excited to give that Book Bound opportunity to someone who might otherwise not have had the chance.’

For full details and how-to-apply, click here:

Danielle Jawando, Megaphone graduate, signs two book deal!

Huge congratulations to Danielle Jawando , one of the Megaphone ‘graduates’, who  has secured a two book deal with Simon and Schuster for AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY, the YA novel she was writing during the Megaphone programme. It is such a stunning novel, beautifully written but also covering some really powerful and important themes. I am so excited to know that it will be reaching a much wider readership, in 2020! Danielle is represented by the Madeleine Milburn agency.
Read more:
Danielle Jawando

De-Colonising Children’s Literature – March 29, Mancs.

De-Colonising Children’s Literature – an evening of discussion about diversity in YA Fiction (including the launch of the Commonword Diversity Young Adult Fiction Prize)

Thu, March 29, 2018 | 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM | International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY


Join authors, Jamila Gavin (Blackberry Blue, Coram Boy), Catherine Johnson (Sawbones and The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo), Pete Kalu (Silent Striker, Zombie XI), Bali Rai (City of Ghosts) and Alex Wheatle (Crongton Knights and Liccle Bit) for an evening of discussion about the (under) representation of black and minority ethnic characters in Children’s and Young Adult Fiction and the role of the Gothic in confronting the traumas from Britain’s history. Featuring readings and panel discussions chaired by Youth Libraries Group Jake Hope and Manchester Metropolitan University’s Chloe Germaine Buckley and devised in partnership with Commonword, this promises to be a vibrant and interesting event.


The event will also feature the launch of the Commonword Diversity Young Adult Fiction Prize, with judge Alex Wheatle and Artistic Director of Commonword, Pete Kalu. See for more details.

Commonword Diversity Young Adult Fiction Prize 2018 …

The Commonword Diversity Young Adult Fiction Prize 2018 welcomes submissions from unpublished middle grade children’s AND young adult authors whose writing embraces …


Scheduled to coincide with the start of the Easter break, this will be a fantastic opportunity for teachers, librarians, writers and readers to relax over a glass of wine, listen to fascinating discussion and stock up on some holiday reading.


Register for a free ticket on Eventbrite.

Colonial Countryside: writing opportunity

I grew up going to National Trust properties – and of course the trope of the mysterious, magical country house is embedded in British children’s literature: from Green Knowe to the Professor’s house where Lucy finds the wardrobe. But the pleasure of visiting these properties, and indeed reading about them, was made complicated for me when I learned more about their historical relation to race, power and colonialism. That’s why I think the Colonial Countryside project, led by Peepal Tree Press, looks really exciting- and they’re commissioning ten writers! Why not apply, and be part of reclaiming history? You can read more about the project, here:

The PA has a Megaphone page

Our funder, the Publishers’ Association, now has a Megaphone page on their website. You can read my brief report on the project, and Avantika’s blog about her experience, there:

And a reminder to meet the Megaphone writers, and some of the authors featured in the groundbreaking  A Change is Gonna Come anthology , at the Birmingham Literature Festival on 8th October 2017:

Meet Megaphone in 2017

Super brief update on everything: Events coming up in 2017:
LIVERPOOL: We’ll be at the Bluecoat on 30th September for a panel in conjunction with their Abacus exhibition, about alternative education.

BIRMINGHAM: We’ve joined forces with Little Tiger, publishers of the new BAME-authored YA anthology. A Change is Gonna Come, for a writer networking day which will be packed full of energy and ideas. Join us on 8th October at the Birmingham Book Festival for Making Change.

YORK/National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE): Leila Rasheed will be presenting a paper on Megaphone at the NAWE conference in November in York.

Making Change networking event – October 8th.

We’ve got together with Stripes and their exciting new anthology: A Change is Gonna Come, to create an afternoon of networking, talks and panels as part of the Birmingham Literature Festival 2017. This is a fantastic chance to meet the Megaphone mentees and the new writers published in A Change is Gonna Come – plus it will be hosted by one of the funniest authors around, bestselling Ayisha Malik. You will get to hear what it’s like to be  published (from the anthology authors), how to hook an agent (from our Megaphone mentees), and how to turn your passion into a project that can secure funding and make change (from Leila). There will be such a range of expertise here, from writers to publishers to people working in various roles in publishing, that you won’t be able to help leaving without learning something you didn’t know before, and maybe meeting someone who’ll change your writing life… Click the link for tickets. See you there!


New BAME scholarship in child lit

This one: to attend the SCBWI-BI (too many acronyms! I know!!) conference. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is long-established and a great international source of peer support and networking for unpublished (and published) children’s authors. The annual British Isles conference, held in Winchester, is a fantastic opportunity for those seeking publication to get all the info, experience, insight and connections they could wish for.

The BAME scholarship is generously sponsored by the Bent Agency.

 for full information. Excerpt from the webpage below:


Book Now for the 2017 SCBWI BI Conference

SCBWI-BI Margaret Carey scholarships and the Bent Agency BAME scholarship


SCBWI-BI Margaret Carey scholarships

Two conference scholarships were set up in memory of Margaret Carey, children’s writer and illustrator and SCBWI British Isles volunteer, in the following two categories:

  • fiction author (Young Adult or Middle Grade)
  • picture book author or illustrator


This year an ADDITIONAL scholarship, generously sponsored by the Bent Agency, will be awarded in the following category:

  • BAME author (Young Adult or Middle Grade) 


Each scholarship covers the cost of the conference attendance, a 1-1 manuscript critique with an editor, art director or agent*, hotel accommodation, and a grant towards travel to Winchester, where the conference will take place.

* The BAME scholarship winner’s manuscript critique will be with a member of the Bent Agency. The Bent Agency will also pay for a year’s SCBWI membership.

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