We Need Diverse Books™ is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2018 Walter Dean Myers Grants. The following 4 unpublished writers and 1 writer-illustrator have been selected for the grants:
WNDB has now awarded 16 Walter Grants of $2000 each to unpublished writers and illustrators from diverse backgrounds who are working on children’s or young adult literature projects. Our 2016 recipients include Jacqueline Alcántara, illustrator of THE FIELD (North South Books), which has received three starred trade reviews. Our 2015 recipients include Angie Thomas, author of the #1 NY Times Bestseller THE HATE U GIVE (Balzer & Bray), which is also a major motion picture; and Yamile Saied Méndez, winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award and the author of WHERE ARE YOU FROM? (HarperCollins), amongst others.
The 2018 Walter Grant Committee was comprised of 9 agents and editors who identify as diverse under WNDB’s definition. Marietta Zacker, the Walter Grant’s Co-Chair, commented, “The decision-making process certainly was not easy, but it was fulfilling and rewarding. The strength of the work submitted by so many writers and illustrators compelled us to rethink how we approached each discussion. In this vital time for culture and stories, we were grateful that we were forced to learn, grow, and shift our perspective so we could best assess the applicants. We wish them all the very best in their creative pursuits.”
The committee looks forward to following the winners’ contributions to children’s and YA literature. Zacker also added, “We expect each grant recipient to report back to WNDB so we can follow and cheer them on along their journey. May this grant be a positive step in their quest to reach young children and young adults through their stories.”
The 2019 Walter Grant cycle will open to applications next year in the late spring.
We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 2014 to address the lack of diverse representation in the children’s publishing industry. WNDB strives to create a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book, and it currently runs ten exciting initiatives, including the Walter Grants. Learn more about the organization at diversebooks.org.