We Need Diverse Books Announces Online Native Children’s and YA Writing Intensive

Washington, DC — We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is excited to announce an online Native Children’s and YA Writing Intensive that will take place from Aug. 13, to Aug. 16. The theme for the Writing Intensive is elevating and empowering Native voices and it will offer an opportunity for reflection, conversation, celebration, and manuscript and career development for participants.

“The Native Intensive Workshop will be a deep dive into the craft of writing and into publishing considerations, centering the needs of Indigenous children’s and YA book writers,” said award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith. “We’ll reflect and build on our literary traditions and innovations. We’ll soak up wisdom, encouragement, and enjoy each other’s supportive company.”

The Native Children’s and YA Writing Intensive is committed to sharing information, resources, and contacts related to children’s and YA writing, Native books, and the surrounding publishing world.

Cyntern Gayleen Rabakukk (left) and children’s author Traci Sorell (right)

Up to 12 participants will be invited to participate in the Writing Intensive, including group discussions of manuscripts in progress.

Faculty for the intensive include:

  • Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), award-winning and bestselling author-curator of Heartdrum, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books;
  • Traci Sorell (Cherokee), award-winning author;
  • Rosemary Brosnan, vice president/editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books; and
  • Linda Camacho, literary agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

The Writing Intensive aims to nurture and support Native and First Nations writers, who are currently underrepresented in children’s publishing. Only 1 percent of children’s books in 2018 were written by Native American and First Nations authors, according to data from the Cooperate Children’s Book Center. According to Lee & Low’s 2019 Diversity in Publishing Baseline Survey, less than 1 percent of people working in publishing are Native American.

WNDB executive director Nicole Johnson said, “WNDB is excited to partner with Cynthia Leitich Smith and HarperCollins Children’s Books to host this writing intensive. Native writers and creatives are sorely missing from children’s and young adult publishing right now, and we’re honored to be a part of changing that.”

More Information & Application

Find in-depth details on the workshop and application at We Need Diverse Books.

About We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. It is our mission to put more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of all children.