Updated: Apr 6
So, I've been meaning to write a post about this for ages, but have also been really enjoying that secret, sneaky feeling of keeping something to myself for a little bit ... BUT, really exciting news! I found out last month that I've been offered a place on one of the inaugural programmes at the HarperCollins Author Academy, a not-for-profit foundation that helps to support and promote BAME authors.
As a mixed-race, Malaysian and Irish author-illustrator, this is really exciting for me personally but, more importantly, it's also a fantastic opportunity for authors from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds to develop confidence and learn valuable new skills. I genuinely didn't even think I'd get through the first round, so to be awarded a place on the Writing for Children course was just the most incredible news.
Growing up mixed-race in London, I have unfortunately experienced the type of racism that is still present in modern society, including name-calling, well-meaning but ultimately upsetting racial slurs about my culture and heritage, and even people telling me to 'go back home' (deeply ironic as that was, in fact, where I was headed at the time).
Kid's books are so important as a way that we introduce young people to the world around them, and I've become more and more aware of a startling lack of ethnic diversity in children's literature. I hope that my time at the Author Academy will help me to understand how I can play my part in the movement to set this right.
(Remote) School's in session from Monday (18th Jan) so watch this space as I plan to share key tips and any useful advice that I pick up during my time at the Academy ...