Resources For Writers

Children’s literature needs more stories published by Native writers and illustrators that reflect their cultures, Nations, and lived experiences. We welcome Native creators to take a look at the resources below, which may help them on their journey to publication.

We Need Diverse Books Resources

Mentorships: WNDB’s Mentorship program aims to support writers and illustrators by pairing them with an experienced professional in the field. Mentors work one-on-one with a mentee and their completed draft of a manuscript over the course of a year, offering advice to improve craft and to better understand the publishing industry.

Native Writing Intensive: WNDB’s Native Children’s and YA Writing Intensive offers an opportunity for reflection, conversation, celebration, and manuscript and career development to Native/First Nations writers.

Walter Dean Myers Grants: The Walter Dean Myers Grant provides financial support to diverse authors and illustrators who are currently unpublished.

Grants & Scholarships

Epiphany Magazine Fresh Voices Fellowship: The Fresh Voices Fellowship supports one emerging Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other writer of color who does not have an MFA and is not currently enrolled in a degree-granting creative writing program. One writer, in prose or poetry, will receive: a $2,000 stipend; publication in a print issue of Epiphany; a one-year subscription to Epiphany; a close relationship with the editorial team and participation in the editorial and publication process of a small non-profit literary magazine; and the opportunity to contribute an online essay series during their fellowship.

Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards: These awards celebrate outstanding Native artists and culture bearers who embody their People’s cultural assets and way of life. Honorees are selected based on their artistic practice, commitment to building the strength of Native communities, and direct ties to their tribal community. Honoree receives a $25,000 grant to continue their important work.

Kweli Fellowship Program: This New York City-based program provides three 11-month fellowships that include: a $2,000 stipend; free admission to professional writing workshops, literature festivals, and conferences; and all-expenses-paid writing retreat hosted at Akwaaba. Eligible candidates are early career vocational writers, not enrolled in degree-granting programs who self-identify as Black, Indigenous/Native, POC, and/or Arab American.

LIFT Early Career Support for Native Artists: This program provides critical support to early career Native artists with one-year awards to develop and realize new projects. The program consists of activities including: grantmaking, artist professional development, evaluation, and communications/marketing support. One-year awards of $10,000.

Literary Center Mirrors & Windows Fellowship: This program mentors Indigenous writers and writers of color working on picture books, middle grade, and young adult literature. The Loft offers five-month mentorships to ten to 12 emerging and early-career Minnesota Indigenous writers and writers of color interested in creating children’s and YA books. The group will be mentored by diverse published authors of books for children and young readers.

Megaphone Prize: The Megaphone Prize is an annual contest from Radix Media dedicated to the discovery of timely, urgent, and interrogative collections from debut writers of color. One winner receives $1,000 and 20 author copies.

New Voices Award: The New Voices Award is given annually by children’s book publisher Lee & Low Books for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color or Indigenous/Native writer. The Award winner receives a cash prize of $2,000 and a standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first-time author. If an Honor Award winner is selected, they will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship: The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is a $8,000 unrestricted cash grant available to artists living in New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located therein. This is not a project grant, but is intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, at all levels of their artistic development.

PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship: The Emerging Voices Fellowship provides a virtual five-month immersive mentorship program for early-career writers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the publishing world. The program is committed to cultivating the careers of Black writers, and serves writers who identify as Indigenous, persons of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants, writers with disabilities, and those living outside of urban centers.

SCBWI Emerging Voices Award: This award provides two writers or writer-illustrators with: full tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference; press release; publicity through SCBWI social media; manuscript included on our secure website for a selected list of agents and editors to view; guidance available from SCBWI staff on professional career development during the winning year. Creators from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America are invited to apply.

SCBWI Out from the Margins Award: This award provides underrepresented authors and illustrators an opportunity to launch their book with full support and visibility, as well as coaching on how to create scaffolding for future book launches during their career in children’s literature. Winners will comprise a cohort that will meet monthly as a group with experts to learn about various areas and techniques to best market their books. A $5,000 cash award, free paid advertising, and free registration to SCBWI digital conferences and workshop. Open to all Black, Indigenous and people of color, disabled, LGBTQIA+ authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators of children’s literature. You must be a current SCBWI member.

Speculative Literature Foundation Diverse Writers Grant: This grant supports speculative fiction writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups—such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, etc.—whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing and publishing process. The award is $500.

Ucross Fellowship for Native American Writers: This fellowship is open to practicing writers currently producing work in one or more of the following genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, screenwriting, playwriting, or hybrid forms. Two fellowships are awarded each year; those selected are offered a four-week residency, a stipend of $2,000, and an opportunity to present work publicly.

Workshops & Conferences

Anaphora Arts: A non-profit organization that advocates for writers and artists of color, Anaphora seeks to provide opportunities for emerging and established writers and artists of color through innovative and interdisciplinary programming; promote their work to the general public; and serve as a resource and learning center to research, develop and implement equitable practices in the literary arts field. Program offerings include: residencies, retreats, symposiums, conferences, festivals, writing bootcamps, and more.

BIPOC Writers Connect (Canada): A virtual conference for Black, Indigenous, and racialized emerging writers to connect with industry professionals, established authors, and fellow emerging writers. The event provides: one-on-one feedback with a professional writer who has reviewed your work in advance; panel discussions with literary industry professionals; a behind-the-scenes look at manuscript selection as panelists offer feedback on the first pages of anonymously submitted manuscripts; workshop on writing query letters; and networking opportunities.

Lighthouse Writers Writing in Color Retreat: This retreat welcomes, celebrates, and amplifies the voices of writers of color. The workshops focus on the creation of new works; connecting writers and their work to social movements and larger audiences; and amplifying narratives of often unheard and marginalized voices to build more equitable, just, and sustainable communities. Writers will have the opportunity to study and create with our faculty, guest instructors, and a community of peers.

VONA: The Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation is a community-based organization that puts writers of color, their narratives, voices, and experiences at the center of all conversations. VONA supports individual writer growth, creates platforms for community engagement rooted in social justice, and provides workshops and mentors focused on expanding writing opportunities.