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Meet the jury of the Talent Development Programme

Updated: Jun 4


A short while ago, Every Story Matters selected six talents for the Talent Development Programme. We received over 170 applications for the programme from all over Europe and had to cut those down to six participants. This wasn’t an easy task, but luckily we could count on an excellent jury, eager to read along.


ROSE Stories, coordinator of the Talent Development Programme, and Flanders Literature, coordinator of Every Story Matters, both had two of their employees read through all the applications. The partner organisations were involved in reading and sorting through the applications of their respective countries, assisted by an external evaluator for each country. These external evaluators brought in their specific expertise and knowledge of the local book market, while also contributing in their own way to a more diverse representation in our jury. We were honoured to have them in our team. Anxious to meet them? Here you go:



Belgium - Neske Beks

Neske works as a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in theatre, literature, film and music. She works mainly as a writer and as a director in documentary and has written theatre plays, fiction (film and literature), non-fiction, essays and has recently finished her first children’s book that will be published in the summer of 2020 at Querido. Her children’s documentary ‘Mookie’ premiered at IDFA and toured around the world and won prices in Mexico and Italy. A reccurring theme in

Neske’s work is the thin line between so-called reality and so-called non-reality. Neske has a son and lives in Amsterdam and Mallorca.


Photo: Mariana Borau


The Netherlands - Kim Blackburn

Kim was one of the first advocates of diversity and representation in children's books in the Netherlands. In 2011, she started the academic conversation by writing her bachelor thesis about this topic. In the same year, she founded a small-scale children’s bookshop called ‘Spinzi’. This was the first children’s bookshop specialised in emancipation and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. Today, Kim Blackburn focuses on literature and cultural education as a freelance project leader, programme maker and advisor Education & Culture. It is her biggest passion to make children’s stories more inclusive and diverse.


Portugal - Nádia Yracema

Nádia is one of the creators of the play ‘Aurora Negra’, which will premiere at the National Theatre D. Maria II in Lisbon in May 2020. She began her training at TEUC - University of Coimbra Students Theater, where she also became a member of the direction team until 2011. During the same period, she graduated in Law. After this, she started an actor training at ESTC. Since she graduated, she has often worked as an actress in theater, directed by several national and international directors. She actively participates in various social organizations that promote collaborative work in the areas of cinema, theater, and performance. In 2018 she was one of the participants of the international project of École de Maîtres Theatre.


Croatia - Nora Verde

Nora (Antonela Marušić) is a Croatian author born in Dubrovnik. She graduated in Croatian language and literature. She started to pursue a literary career as a student, publishing her first work of poetry, “Sezona bjegova” (“The Season of Getaways”) in 1994. In addition, she also published several novels and short stories. At the moment, she works as a journalist and editor of daily and weekly newspapers and non-profit media in the areas of culture, music, television, civil society, human rights and independent media. She is a member of the editorial board of the Croatian feminist portal “Vox Feminae”, the Croatian Writers Society and the Croatian Freelance Artists’ Association


Germany - Tanja Al Kayyali

Tanja is a visual artist, painter, illustrator, digital artist and graphic designer.

She graduated at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus 2008. Recently, she became part of the new Syrian artistic Diaspora within Berlin’s art scene.

She also worked as a translator at the organisation for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe .

Having faith in the ability of education to change our future, she creates numerous illustrations and children’s books.

Tanja is a Serbian national (born in Loznica Yugoslavia ) of Palestinian and Yugoslavian descent.




Slovenia - Alenka Spacal

Alenka is a writer, illustrator and storyteller. She obtained her BA and MA in Philosophy and PhD in Sociology from the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. She writes, illustrates and narrates her own stories. She mainly writes about gender issues for both adults and children. In the field of children’s literature, she works primarily as a picture book author. Her illustrations are exhibited both in Slovenia and abroad.


Photo: Marjan Verč







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