Visit our website for more information about the Black Creatives Fund and the Revisions Workshop.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
We Need Diverse Books and Penguin Random House Announce the Black Creatives Fund
February 17, 2021
Washington, DC — We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is excited to announce the launch of the Black Creatives Fund, an initiative with a mission of supporting emerging and established Black writers and illustrators. Penguin Random House is the inaugural sponsor of the fund for the 2021 year.
The Black Creatives Fund will feature three initiatives in 2021, including a Revisions Workshop, a mentorship program, and a marketing symposia in partnership with the Brown Bookshelf. The Fund will launch with the six-month Revisions Workshop, in collaboration with Penguin Random House, that will support unpublished Black writers with completed manuscripts and feature esteemed faculty including Nicole Dennis-Benn, Nic Stone, and Karen Strong.
“This fund is in direct response to the needs highlighted by the BLM movement,” said Dhonielle Clayton, WNDB COO, who will be chairing the Black Creatives Fund. “We must be more proactive to raise the voices of the Black community within an industry that has long marginalized them.”
Twelve writers selected for the workshop will have the opportunity to receive guidance throughout the revision process and submit their manuscript to editors at Penguin Random House for possible publication. All 12 writers will be awarded stipends. Two finalists will receive larger grants, and publishing deals for top performers will be strongly considered. The Revisions Workshop will kick off in spring 2021.
“At Penguin Random House, we are deeply committed to using our platform to drive tangible and meaningful change in our industry,” said Claire von Schilling, EVP, Director, Corporate Communications & Social Responsibility, Penguin Random House. “We are honored to collaborate with our longtime partner We Need Diverse Books to build this important new pipeline for discovering and elevating Black voices.”
As part of the Black Creatives Fund, WNDB is also partnering with the Brown Bookshelf, an organization focused on building awareness for Black voices writing for young readers, to host a marketing symposia for Black authors. The goal of the symposia is to provide guidance and support for published writers looking to energize their careers. Faculty will include marketing experts, independent booksellers, school visit coordinators, and other authors who will share tips and best practices for marketing books, including social media, events, outreach, and more.
“The marketing symposia gets at the root of our call to publishers to invest more resources into their Black creatives,” said Paula Chase, Co-Founder of The Brown Bookshelf. “We’re excited to partner with WNDB and offer programming that will provide creatives with insight and tools to help them amplify their work.”
Later in 2021, the Fund will also support a mentorship program for Black writers to introduce them 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. More details about the mentorship are forthcoming.
WNDB warmly thanks Penguin Random House for providing the donation that made the inaugural cycle of the Black Creatives Fund possible. The Fund is an integral piece of Amplify Black Stories, their year-long campaign to celebrate Black authors and introduce their stories to a diverse group of readers.
About We Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. It is our mission to put more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of all children. You can learn more about WNDB programs at www.diversebooks.org.
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.
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