Nelvana has teamed up with children’s book publisher and fellow Corus Entertainment subsidiary Kids Can Press to launch a new initiative designed to discover and mentor creators, writers and illustrators from underrepresented communities.
Black Write is the first edition of this talent incubator, and it has issued an open call for children’s TV and book concepts from Black storytellers and illustrators looking to break into the industry. Future iterations will spotlight other underrepresented groups.
Applicants to Black Write must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who identify as Black and are at least 18 years old. Submissions should come from individuals, not companies, and if an entry is from a creative partnership or team, at least half of its members must identify as Black.
Animated, live-action and short film projects are all eligible, but applicants must not be working producers, directors or writers. Creators outside of the children’s content space are of particular interest, said Nelvana head of development Athena Georgaklis in a release.
As for book concepts, Kids Can Press is seeking unpublished stories that are funny, genuine, thoughtful, heartfelt and clever, and STEM, STEAM, global citizenship and environmental topics are of particular interest. In terms of genre and age range, the publisher is looking for non-rhyming picture books for three to eights; non-fiction for five to eights, seven to 10s, eight to 12s and 10 to 14s; early fiction for six to nines; and fiction and non-fiction graphic novels for three to 18s.
By December 15, up to three creators and six writers and/or illustrators will be selected to receive mentoring from Nelvana development execs and Kids Can Press editors, written feedback, introductions to industry professionals and a chance to pitch broadcasters.
The goal of the incubator is to develop at least one original children’s concept for TV and at least one book for publication. Story proposals or illustration portfolios can be submitted on the Black Write website until November 30.
This initiative is part of Corus’s multi-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan, which aims to improve representation in the company’s teams, content and partnerships.