FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WNDB and Penguin Random House Announce the Winners of the First Black Creatives Fund Revisions Workshop
December 1, 2021
Washington, DC — We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is excited to announce the two winners of the inaugural Revisions Workshop, who will each receive grants of $4500. The Revisions Workshop is one of three initiatives within WNDB’s Black Creatives Fund, which launched in early 2021 to support Black writers and illustrators. Penguin Random House was the inaugural sponsor of the fund in the 2021 calendar year and will sponsor the program again in 2022.
A committee of Penguin Random House editors selected the two winners, which include:
Middle Grade and Young Adult Category
Both winners’ manuscripts will be considered for publication at Penguin Random House.
“Our editors saw an extraordinary level of talent in their manuscripts, and our publishing divisions are excited to continue the review process,” said Claire von Schilling, EVP, Director, Corporate Communications & Social Responsibility, Penguin Random House. “Working with We Need Diverse Books to build this important new pipeline for Black voices has been an incredible experience, and we look forward to continuing to partner with them on this program for years to come.”
The Revisions Workshop was established to provide manuscript development and programming for twelve Black writers who have completed a draft of a middle grade, young adult, or adult novel. Over a six-month period, participants received training from a faculty of esteemed Black authors, along with the opportunity to build a writing community, connect with publishing professionals, and receive feedback on their works in progress. The workshop was developed and overseen by Breanna J. McDaniel, the Program Manager of the Black Creatives Fund.
“It’s been a true privilege to work with this incredibly talented inaugural cohort. They jumped right into the process of revisions, under the tutelage of our phenomenal faculty and writing coaches, and I’ve seen their craft opening in awesome new ways,” said McDaniel. “The writers astound me with their flexibility, their patience, with themselves and others, and their willingness to learn. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to start off the program.”
Trae Hawkins’s young adult manuscript, The Stars Are Ours, was reviewed by Matt Phipps, Assistant Editor at Penguin Young Readers. “I love the queer representation and it’s easy to rally behind this liberation narrative,” said Phipps.
C. Verrone’s adult manuscript, The Nightlife, was reviewed by Nicole Counts, Senior Editor at One World. Counts said, “This is a delightfully intriguing tale…There’s a real freshness to the story and voice, and a nice balance of literary beauty and modern cleverness.”
WNDB will continue its Black Creative Fund programming in 2022, including the second cycle of the Revisions Workshop.
About Penguin Random House. Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson. As of April 1, 2020, Bertelsmann is full owner of the company. With more than 300 imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- German- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and more than 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.
About We Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that runs twelve exciting initiatives united under one goal—to combat systemic racism and oppression by creating a world where everyone can find themselves on the pages of a book. Established in 2014, WNDB strives to support and amplify diverse literature by mentoring marginalized creators, providing resources to diverse publishing professionals, and donating diverse books to schools and libraries nationwide. Learn more at diversebooks.org.
Breanna McDaniel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alaina Lavoie, email@example.com