We are currently delivering the 2021 – 2022 mentoring scheme, and not open to applications. We will update here when we are open again.
- Attend masterclasses in the art, craft and business of writing for children and teenagers, given by published children’s authors, agents and editors
- Attend six, one-to-one mentoring sessions with an experienced creative writing tutor, focused on bringing their novel to a publishable standard
- At the end of the year, read from their work at a showcase event, to which publishers and press will be invited
Because of the current danger to public health (Covid-19), the scheme in 2021 – 2022 is being delivered entirely online using Zoom Pro.
The scheme costs £300, though funding is available for participants in financial need. Applications are awarded on merit, based on the writing sample.
Applicants must be resident in England.
We are currently delivering the 2021 – 2022 scheme and not open to applications. We will update when we open again.
Equality and diversity statement
Megaphone’s aim is to support England-based people of colour as they write children’s literature.
We include and welcome LGBTQ+ people. We include and welcome people of all faiths and none.
We aim for an inclusive, respectful and considerate environment. No harassment or bullying – including racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and disability abuse – will be tolerated. Aggressive, offensive, intimidatory, disrespectful behaviour or comments will not be tolerated. This applies to all aspects of communication at or in connection with an event, including postings on social media.
If you have any concerns about behaviour that doesn’t meet the standards above, please let us know at email@example.com
Not unless you want to. We want your voice, your individual creativity, your ideas. You can write about whatever you want to.
To date, the scheme has focused on novels for ages 7 and up. We think a scheme for picture book authors would need to be designed differently and we’ve just not had the time yet to design that scheme! However, this is something we are looking changing, so please stay tuned. If you are an illustrator, the Pathways project (https://pathways-org.com/) may help.
- You will have sustained support through the process of writing your first children’s/YA novel
- You will benefit from the insight and experience of established children’s authors and editors
- You will be supported by an experienced mentor who will work with you to make your novel as good as it can be
- You will be guaranteed exposure to the publishing industry and have the opportunity to develop valuable networks and contacts
- You will be helped to develop the information, insight, networks and skills you need to sustain a career as a writer of fiction for children or teenagers in the long-term
No, for practical reasons it is too complicated to organise this at the moment. However we’ll seek to match you with a mentor who best fits your writing interests.
Why do we need this scheme?
Children’s writers from minority ethnic backgrounds are under-represented in British children’s literature. The ultimate goal of Megaphone is to change the landscape of children’s reading in the UK so that children from ethnically diverse backgrounds can see themselves not only as characters in, but also as potential authors of, the books they read. Since Megaphone first ran in 2015 many different agencies have underlined the marginalisation of people of colour in publishing, especially the following:
BOOK TRUST Book Trust Represents (2018, 2020) collected and analysed data about children’s authors of colour :
“Between 2007 and 2017, fewer than 2% of children’s authors were British people of colour”: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/what-we-do/programmes-and-campaigns/booktrust-represents/representation-of-people-of-colour-among-childrens-book-authors-and-illustrators/
CENTRE FOR LITERACY IN PRIMARY EDUCATION Reflecting Realities (2018, 2019, 2020) collected and analysed data about representation of people of colour in children’s books:
-In 2018 only 7% of children’s books featured any BAME characters
-In 2018 just 4% of children’s books had BAME main protagonists
-However many BAME characters were assessed to be stereotypes, negative or token.
SPREAD THE WORD Rethinking Diversity in Publishing (2020) investigated structural racism and bias in British publishing:
“the entire publishing industry is set up to cater for a white, middle-class audience.”
ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND/ SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY Time for Change (2019) investigated ” the current position of BME people working in the sector (of children’s literature), the barriers they face and what the Arts Council and other organisations can do to achieve positive and sustainable change.” Megaphone is one scheme noted as effective: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/publication/diversity-children%E2%80%99s-literature-report-2019
How much does it cost?
The scheme costs £300. You will not have to pay anything until you have accepted a place on the scheme. Writers in need will be fully supported financially but financial disadvantage is not in itself a criterion for selection. Please do not be put off applying by cost – we will never refuse anyone a place just because they can’t afford it.
The scheme is for writers of colour who are resident in England and aged 18+.
Applicants should self-define as people of colour; multiple/mixed heritage writers are welcome. We are looking specifically for people from groups that are under-represented as writers for children in Britain, so please bear that in mind (maybe read the research mentioned on this page under the heading WHY DO WE NEED THIS SCHEME? if you’re not sure whether we mean you).
We use BESEA (British East and South East Asian) to mean people who have heritage from
Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and their diasporas. (https://nw-besea-creatives.uk/)
Applicants should not have published work for children or young adults before. That said, we acknowledge many people who are marginalised by mainstream publishing are choosing to self-publish. So any previous self-publishing should not be of the nature that it would preclude launching the writer as a debut novelist for children/ YA. Our decision will be led by the goals of the scheme: will the previous self-publishing make it difficult to publish the completed novel successfully? Will that mean it is less likely to find an audience? We may consult with our partner editors on this issue.
Writers who are published in other fields (e.g. adult fiction) are very welcome to apply. Unpublished writers are equally welcome to apply; the selection is made on the basis of the writing sample and your publishing history (unless you have previously published a novel for children or young adults) will not be taken into account.
Writers should not be currently agented.
Note: If you have already agreed with your agent that they will only deal with your adult work and you would be seeking a new agent for any children’s / YA work, please email us to discuss eligbility.
- have ideas for a children’s/YA novel you would like to write
- already spend a lot of time writing for pleasure and manage your time well to make sure you have time to write
- are ready to commit to a year-long programme with events usually on weekend mornings
- understand the importance of working to improve your writing
- enjoy reading contemporary children’s and teenage fiction
- want to be published and have a career as a children’s/ YA author
- define yourself as belonging to an ethnic minority group/ being a person of colour
- have never had a book for children published before
then the scheme is for you.
You may also
- have tried writing for children before, but not had it published
- have expertise in another area of writing, for example drama or poetry, and want to develop your skills in another area
You will probably (though not necessarily)
- have been writing for some time
- have experience of sharing your work, for example with a critique group.
If you are still unsure, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we are more than happy to discuss it.
We hope to launch a new mentoring scheme in late 2022 or early 2023.
Because of the Covid-19 situation, we have designed this year’s scheme to run entirely online, using mainly Zoom and Band for delivery. In future (depending on the severity of the pandemic) we will aim for a mixture of online and in-person events.
Write a novel! That means you will need to be sure you have time to write and take part in scheduled events such as masterclasses and 1-1 mentoring meetings. You should consider the scheme as a serious commitment which will take at least half a day per week. We expect you to come to events which are scheduled as part of the scheme. If your circumstances change we are always understanding, but you should communicate with us clearly and in a timely manner so that we can help. If you are regularly not turning up for scheduled events, we will discuss with you why this may be and whether the scheme is really right for you at this time in your life. Like anything in life, you will get out of the scheme what you put into it.
The charge to participants of £300 represents only a small fraction of the real cost of a place on the scheme – our funders and in kind supporters make it possible for this scheme to run. Writers who are low income/ on benefits will be fully supported financially but financial disadvantage is not in itself a criterion for selection. If you wish to apply to be considered for funding, discount or instalments please include this information with your application.
These are small group writing workshops which will provide plenty of opportunity for you to engage, be creative, ask questions. Each masterclass leader will design a workshop based on their experience. Publishers and agents will lead sessions focused on their expertise – these will be less about developing your creativity and more about developing your understanding of the publishing industry.
These sessions will be focused on your novel in progress. You will need to send your mentor a section of your writing at least two weeks before each session, which they will read and discuss with you. The aim of the sessions is to help you discover ways of making your novel as strong and publishable as it can be. For the first 5 sessions, your mentor will read a maximum of 5000 words. For the final session they will read your entire novel.
There is a good guide to mentoring and what to expect here, published by the National Associaton of Writers in Education (download it through the link in the bottom right corner, it is a .pdf file): http://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/resources-3/mentoring-a-guide-for-creative-writers.html
We are running COMMUNITY because we know that last time, we had more great and deserving applicants than we could offer mentoring to. This time we wanted everyone who applies to have some support. You will be offered a place on COMMUNITY.
No. When you apply to take part in Megaphone, we will collect your name and the contact details you supply us with, in order to inform you about the progress of your application. We store this data electronically and retain it only as long as is necessary for these purposes. The data is not shared with any third party.
We may also contact you to inform you about other opportunities for children’s writers. If you do not want to hear from us simply email us email@example.com and say ‘remove me from your mailing list’.
We may ask you to complete surveys. This is always optional. The data collected is not linked to your application in any way. Our purpose in carrying out surveys is to find out what you think about what we do and how we can improve.
We will not sell your details or pass them on without your consent. An example of when we might seek your consent to pass on your details might be if an editor showed an interest in your writing sample and wanted to discuss it with you.
By applying to Megaphone you are agreeing that the named editors and/ or agents judging the shortlist will have access to your writing sample. They will not be given your name, contact details or covering letter without your consent.
Megaphone does not act as an agent or middle-man and will not have any sort of role or claim in any contract you enter into with a literary agent or publisher.
Contact Megaphone by email with questions, suggestions, for information, etc: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @MegaphoneWrite.
Or through the comments box: