Every Story Matters
European societies are diverse and becoming more so all the time. Sadly, this diverse reality is not reflected everywhere; literature and the book business remain too homogenous in many respects. It is not just a matter of who writes (and who is encouraged to write) but of who gets published, who stands on the stage, who sits in the audience, how people are portrayed, and which readers can identify with the characters in the books they are reading. Everybody has a right to discover literature and to create stories, irrespective of their socio-economic or cultural background, gender, sexual preference or mental and physical abilities. Yet not all of us have an equal opportunity to do so.
That is something the Europe-wide project ‘Every Story Matters – making books more inclusive’ aims to change. We want to encourage the creation of more inclusive books for children and young adults and to give book professionals (including publishers, librarians and editors) the tools and the strategies needed to become more inclusive and by doing so engage a broader and more diverse reading audience.
Solid role models
In order to stimulate the creative potential of talented people who have traditionally been overlooked, ESM presents a talent development programme, helping authors and illustrators to generate inclusive content. In their efforts to reach modern-day young people in a diverse and multicultural society, these authors and illustrators will be inspired by the experiences and needs of young people who participate in school and library workshops. By pitching the resulting stories to publishers at international book fairs (Frankfurt, Bologna) and to young readers at festivals and book fairs, and in schools and libraries, they will serve as solid role models for a young and diverse audience.
Charter and toolkit
Apart from supporting the creation of inclusive stories, ESM aims to stimulate publishers to become more inclusive by organising a fellowship and developing a charter and toolkit that will offer them effective and sustainable ways to reach writers and illustrators as well as readers from minority groups.
Making diversity mainstream
By increasing the number of inclusive books that are published and presented each year, ESM will invest in a culture of tolerance by gradually making diversity in children’s literature mainstream. It aims to create broad public awareness and to have an enduring impact on the book trade in the EU. Together we can make a difference.
Every Story Matters is a project supported by Creative Europe and in joint collaboration between the following partners:
Flanders Literature (project leader, literature fund supporting Flemish writers and illustrators and promoting their work abroad, Belgium)
Acesso Cultura (access to cultural participation, Portugal)
Blue Dar (education through entertainment, Syria/Germany)
JAKRS (Slovenian Book Agency, Slovenia)
Mediart International (promotes books, authors and reading, Zagreb Book Festival, Croatia)
ROSE stories (independent storytelling house,The Netherlands)