FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Congratulations to the 2021 Walter Grant Winners
December 14, 2021
Washington, DC — We Need Diverse Books is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Walter Dean Myers Grants. This year, WNDB awarded 8 grants at $2000 each to unpublished writers or illustrators from marginalized backgrounds who are working on children’s or young adult literature projects.
The following 8 creators have been selected for the Walter Grants:
Noha Abdelaziz, grant for Muslim creators
Alex Abraham, grant for trans creators
Fatou Hymes, grant for refugee creators
Adriana Lebrón White
Five of the grants were funded thanks to the generosity of Angie Thomas, author of #1 New York Times bestselling novel The Hate U Give, who is also a former Walter Grant recipient. Three of the 8 grants are designated for creators from specific marginalized groups: One recurring grant for trans creators, thanks to a donation from author Margaret Owen; one recurring grant for Muslim creators, thanks to a donation from author Hanna Alkaf; and one grant for refugee and migrant creators, thanks to a donation from author A. M. Dassu.
“Being part of this endeavor since its inception, I have seen firsthand how this grant can propel a person’s career forward. I am thrilled for all grant recipients,” said Marietta Zacker, co-chair of the Walter Grant program.
“We had a strong pool of nearly 200 applicants, and I’m excited to congratulate this year’s incredibly talented winners,” said Alaina Lavoie, Program Manager of the Walter Grant program. “I am so thankful for Angie Thomas for her generous donation to this year’s Walter Grants, and to Margaret Owen, Hannah Alkaf, and A. M. Dassu for their dedication to creating grants for specific marginalized communities. I also want to thank our team of keen, thoughtful judges for all of their hard work making this program happen.”
The Walter Grant program was initiated in 2015 to provide financial support to promising writers and illustrators from diverse communities. Since the program’s launch, WNDB has awarded 26 Walter Grants of $2000 each. Previous recipients include Jennifer de Leon, author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (August 2020); Yamile Saied Méndez, author of Where Are You From? and winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award; Jacqueline Alcantara, author of The Field; and Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, a #1 New York Times Bestseller that has also been adapted into a movie produced by Fox 2000 Pictures. The Walter Grant program was on hiatus in 2017 and 2019.
The 2022 Walter Grant cycle will open to applications next year in the spring.
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.
Alaina Lavoie, firstname.lastname@example.org