Martin Luther King had a dream that one day his children would “not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”. We have a dream that one day diverse writers will be judged by the content of their characters and not by the colour of their skin or the nature of their background.
Right now, there are too few diverse authors featured on UK children’s bookshelves. There are too few diverse characters between the pages of children’s books.
This widely acknowledged lack of diversity in the UK children’s fiction market has persisted for too long. The Commonword Diversity Writing For Children Prize seeks to change things. We want to play our part in creating an environment where more diverse stories are available in the UK for today’s children and young adults.
Who are we?
Commonword is a thriving New-Writing development agency and the key writing development agency in the North West. We have National Portfolio Status with the Arts Council of England. We have played a lead role since 1986 in the development of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) writers in the North West and beyond and has held our Cultureword National Black Writers Conference approximately every four years since 1988.
What do we do?
More broadly, our aim is to develop new writers and new writing in the North West of England. We do this by providing support, training and publishing opportunities. We employ an imaginative and dynamic approach in the nurturing and promotion of new writers.
We operate both as a grassroots community oriented organisation via our ‘participation’ strand of programming, and as an organisation of strategic significance nationally via our conference, ‘hothouse’ and festival strands of programming. So at any one time, we can be involved in projects which severally might encompass local, regional, national and international remits.
Working with young people has always been an important part of our brief. In particular, we have the North West’s most successful young writers organisation in the North West in Young Identity – named after Identity, Commonword’s renowned culturally diverse writers workshop for adults.
We are also committed to working with writers who are focused on developing new writing for young people. This Prize is one way we work with them.