Thursday, January 06, 2022

THE Raising Voices Fellowship is inviting aspiring writers and/or illustrators in Waterford who make work for children and young adults to apply for their new fully-funded programme.

Encompassing a host of creative and practical supports, the six selected fellows will be connected to a welcoming community of practice and supported in developing their careers.

The fellowship is led by a group of literature organisations including Children’s Books Ireland, Illustrators Ireland, Publishing Ireland, the Dublin Book Festival and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig.

Raising Voices aims to break down barriers to publication and progression, and to increase diversity and representation in the Irish literature sector for those whose voices have been underrepresented due to background or identity.

Said Children’s Books Ireland Chief Executive Elaina Ryan: “The recent Diversity and Inclusion Survey published by Words Ireland indicates that there is still a long way to go in ensuring equality of access and progression for underrepresented groups in the Irish literature sector. Children’s literature is, unfortunately, no exception.
“We know that there are authors and illustrators in Ireland whose work has not yet reached audiences and who have the talent, skill and tenacity to carve out incredible careers in children’s books. Raising Voices is our chance to identify and provide support to some of these artists, to learn more about the barriers that must be broken down, and to connect them with networks that will help them flourish.”

The Fellowship provides the following supports:

  • Mentorship with an experienced writer or illustrator
  • A detailed critique from an editor/art director suited to the fellow’s practice
  • A week-long residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig
  • Access to a bespoke speaker series, bursary information clinic with the Arts Council, and various events and courses.
  • Tools, information and guidance needed to finalise a manuscript or dummy, prepare work for submission, research the market, and apply for bursaries.

The programme is designed for writers and illustrators that: 

  • Make work for children and young people including fiction, non-fiction and poetry
  • Work in English or as Gaeilge
  • Have a complete manuscript, picturebook or illustrated book outline
  • Come from backgrounds or communities that are underrepresented in children’s and young adult literature or whose identity is traditionally underrepresented
  • Have not yet been published or secured a contract with a publisher or agent
  • Live permanently in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland

Rather than list specific criteria, the Raising Voices Fellowship is asking writers and illustrators who apply to self-identify as ‘underrepresented’.

Six fellows will be selected, by representatives from the five partner organisations and three external readers. As fellows may face financial barriers, the initiative is fully funded by the Arts Council, therefore all mentoring and supports received will be free of charge.

The Raising Voices Fellowship commences this February and will run until November. The application deadline is Thursday next, January 13 at 3pm.

The Raising Voices fellowship application form is available here in both English and as Gaeilge:

https://www.cognitoforms.com/ChildrensBooksIreland1/RaisingVoicesApplicationForm

https://www.cognitoforms.com/ChildrensBooksIreland1/FoirmIarrataisRaisingVoices

And further information is available via: 

https://childrensbooksireland.ie/raising-voices-fellowship

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