A&U announces mentorship program with Voices from the Intersection
Allen & Unwin (A&U) has partnered with Voices from the Intersection (Voices) to offer a mentorship opportunity for emerging children’s and YA Own Voices writers and illustrators.
Up to two mentees, across the picture book, middle-grade and young adult fiction genres, will receive direct feedback and one round of personal editing from Rebecca Lim, who co-founded Voices with Ambelin Kwaymullina in 2016. Edited pitch documents will then be read by A&U, with a view to further publication opportunities.
Lim said that Voices, a completely volunteer-run initiative, ‘likes to change up the way it is seeking to support emerging First Nations, POC and LGBTQIA+ writers and writers living with disability’. The initiative previously offered a pitch day, edited an anthology published by Fremantle Press, and contributed to internationally published research on the lack of diversity in Australian children’s picture books.
Of the mentorship program with A&U, Lim said, ‘The aim, as always, is to help Australian published children’s books better reflect our community.’
According to A&U, the publisher’s first formal involvement with Voices was when acting commissioning editor, books for children & teenagers Elise Jones participated in the pitch day in 2017. Discussions between A&U and Voices leading to the mentorship program began in 2019, but it was delayed over 2020–21 due to the pandemic.
‘We’re passionate about amplifying underrepresented voices in the books we publish for children and teenagers, and we have the most enormous respect for all the deep thinking and hard work that Voices has put, via their various projects so far, into helping shift the balance in Australian society and Australian books towards something more equitable, and more reflective of reality,’ said Jones.
‘We’re completely excited about reading the stories Rebecca puts forward to us after the mentoring process is complete, and we’re committed to working hard at our end to uphold best cultural practices and to provide a warm and nurturing space for new creators.’
Applications for the mentorship program open Monday, 1 August. For more information, see the Voices from the Intersection website.
Pictured: Voices from the Intersection Melbourne Publisher Pitch Day, 2017.