The Black Creatives Mentorship for Black Creatives will introduce Black writers to the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry through one-on-one mentorship and programming with other industry professionals designed to develop their networking skills as well as hone their craft.
Participants will be matched with an experienced creator of children’s books and will receive individual support and feedback on their manuscripts. Mentees will begin the process with a mostly completed (at least ⅔ finished) work-in-progress and conclude the program with a fully completed draft.
Mentees will form a cohort with dedicated space on a separate platform to engage with each other, with a goal toward building a community of Black creatives who will support and uplift each other's work. The platform will also host virtual events for mentees to learn more about the publishing process, to be hosted by various industry professionals. We will also conduct monthly Q&As with the mentors.
Participants will be expected to partner within the cohort to support each other through constructive critique. The bulk of your writing critique will come via your partner with some support via your mentor.
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (PB) is an award-winning children’s book author and educator who aspires to be a griot. That is, she strives to create stories with lyrical language, unforgettable voice, and dialogue that begs to be read aloud (or even sung). Her picture books and middle grade fiction center young Black Muslim protagonists and include Mommy’s Khimar, Once Upon an Eid (anthology contributions), and Your Name is a Song, an Irma Black Award honor book. These works have been recognized as the best in children’s literature by Time Magazine, Read Across America, and NPR.
Tameka Fryer Brown (PB) is a picture book author whose titles include the Charlotte Zolotow Honor-winning MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD and BROWN BABY LULLABY, winner of the 2021 Anna Dewdney Read Together Award. Her work is also featured in the widely-acclaimed anthology, WE RISE, WE RESIST, WE RAISE OUR VOICES.
Brown’s forthcoming picture books include TWELVE DINGING DOORBELLS, a humorous tale about Black family gatherings; NOT DONE YET: SHIRLEY CHISHOLM’S FIGHT FOR CHANGE; and THAT FLAG, a story about best friends divided over the meaning and significance of the Confederate flag. To learn more about Tameka Fryer Brown and her work, visit her website: tamekafryerbrown.com.
Fracaswell Hyman (MG) is a teller of stories in everything he does. He is an author, an actor, a producer and a stage and television director with extensive credits in original programming for children’s television. He created and executive produced THE FAMOUS JETT JACKSON, the first Disney Channel fictional, live-action original series. Hyman adapted Bill Cosby’s LITTLE BILL books for television and served as head writer/producer for the first two seasons. Hyman was the co-creator and executive producer of Nickelodeon’s sitcom ROMEO, and he was Executive Producer of Nickelodeon’s ALMA award winning sitcom TAINA. His first middle grade novel series, MANGO DEIGHT, MANGO IN THE CITY and MANGO ALL THE TIME are available at bookstores and libraries worldwide.
Patrice Lawrence (YA) is a British writer of Caribbean heritage. She writes stories that pick away at social injustice. Her books have been shortlisted for the Costa Children's Award, won the YA Bookseller Prize, the Waterstones Prize for Older Children's Fiction, the Crime Fest YA Prize twice, the Woman and Home Teen Drama Award and the inaugural Jhalak Children and Young People's Prize. She has also been a judge for many book awards including the Costa prize, the BBC Young Writers Award, the Little Rebels Book Prize and the Queen's Knickers Award and is a judge for the 2022 Jhalak Prize for Children and Young People. She has been nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Award six times and was awarded an MBE for Literature in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours. Patrice has four books that will be published in 2022, two picture books, one (debut!) middle grade and a YA novella.
Kwame Mbalia (MG) is a husband, father, writer, a New York Times bestselling author, and a former pharmaceutical metrologist in that order. His debut middle-grade novel, TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY was awarded a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and it—along with the sequels TRISTAN STRONG DESTROYS THE WORLD and TRISTAN STRONG KEEPS PUNCHING, out October 5th—is published by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion.
Alexandra Sheppard (YA) is a children's author from London, UK. Her debut novel Oh My Gods was published by Scholastic and featured in Buzzfeed, Refinery29 and The Guardian's Summer Reading List. It was also shortlisted for the Bristol Teen Book Award 2019.
Her short story was featured in the Knights Of anthology Happy Here and her debut middle-grade novel is coming soon. She loves to write funny, fantastical stories about quirky families with a twist of magic.
|Natasha Tarpley (PB) is a bestselling children’s book author with over 20-years’ publishing experience. Her classic picture book, I Love My Hair!, an ode to Black childhood and natural beauty, is a staple on national school and library reading lists, and a favorite among readers around the world. Her new picture book, The Me I Choose To Be, affirms the power of Black children to choose who and what they want to be. Natasha has also written for children’s television and is the writer and Co-Creator of the award-winning children’s narrative podcast, Opal Watson: Private Eye (Pinna.fm). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Essence Magazine among other publications.|