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How do you make an inclusive story/a story inclusive? Morning panel at the Every Story Matters.

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Photo collage of the participants of the morning panel: Aimée Felone, Ana Biscaia, Joana Estrela, and the moderator Noemi De Clercq. (Instead of Chafina Bendahman's picture, there is the logo of Rose Stories)
Photos credits and references are mentioned at the end of the article.

At the ‘Every Story Matters/Cada Historia Cónta’ conference in Lisbon we want to offer a landscape of different perspectives and experiences on inclusion. We will not only be having two keynote speakers but also two panel discussions that bring together authors, illustrators and book professionals from different countries.

Our first panel discussion will focus on how inclusive content can be created. What is the importance of a balanced and diverse publication list? Which perspectives are lacking and how do we create new role models? What are possible pitfalls and what can we learn from the process? Inviting both authors and illustrators as well publishers, we want to get more grip on these different challenges and think about how we can make a change towards more inclusive books happen, together.

  • Portuguese author and illustrator Joana Estrela (PT) lives and works in Porto. In 2014 Planeta Tangerina published ‘Propaganda’, a graphic novel that follows the daily life of a volunteer at the Lithuanian Gay League. Her book ‘Mana’ (2016) won the International Serpa Award for Illustrated Album. Joana also gives workshops and lectures on storytelling, illustration and comics to share what she has learned in her career so far.

  • Aimée Felone(UK) is co-founder of Knights Of– a commercial children’s publisher whose main focus is publishing inclusively, both by commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as hiring diversely. Aimée was awarded the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2019 for her “astonishing contribution” to the publishing industry and was listed as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2018. Before founding Knights Of, Aimée worked at Scholastic Children’s Books and Literary Agency David Higham Associates. At Knights Of she has opened Brixton’s only children’s bookshop, Round Table Books, stocking titles from underrepresented authors and illustrators.

  • Ana Biscaia (PT) is a Portuguese designer and illustrator who studied at the Konstfcack University School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Her work was awarded multiple distinctions and prizes such as the National Illustration Award in 2009 (‘Poesia de Luis de Camões para Todos’, Luis de Camões’ Poetry for All) and 2012 (‘Uma cadeira que queria ser um sofa’, A Chair that Wanted to Be a Sofa). Apart from her own artistic work, Ana is also the founder of Xerefé, a small publishing house of illustrated books based in Coimbra.

  • Chafina Bendahman (NL) is a publisher and producer. In 2014, after extensive experience in television production, she founded her own storytelling company ROSE stories, one of the partners in ‘Every Story Matters’. ROSE stories collects, produces and publishes inclusive stories. Chafina holds creative responsibility while at the same time pushing other players in the cultural field to make their productions more inclusive.

Our morning panel will be moderated by Noemi De Clercq (BE). Noemi worked for Flanders Literature for 6 years where she was specialised in reading promotion and social innovation. She developed policy on diversity and inclusion and coordinated different initiatives to raise awareness among the Flemish book sector. Noemi was one of the initiators of the Every Story Matters project. She recently switched jobs and is now general manager of Circuscentrum, an organisation aiming to unite the circus field in Flanders.

Looking forward to this exquisite line-up?

Don’t forget to subscribe for our conference on 19 November!

Photos credits and references:

Ana Biscaia: (c) Ali Matay

Noemi De Clercq: (c) Andy Huysmans

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