It has been a month since we closed the open call for the Talent Development Programme of Every Story Matters. We received over 170 applications from passionate writers and illustrators from across Europe. We got to read, view and evaluate enthusiastic motivations and amazing portfolios.
In the end, there were six talents that stood out to us the most. We were impressed by the quality of their work and their motivation to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive children’s book landscape. Hereby, we proudly present these six talented writers and illustrators, participating in the Talent Development Programme of Every Story Matters:
Mirna Brođanac - Writer from Croatia
Born in 1992 in Slavonski Brod, in the east of Croatia. She graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb with a master’s degree in Comparative Literature and Croatian Language and Literature. In July 2019, Mirna participated in a creative writing workshop led by Canadian-Croatian writer Josip Novaković. Her stories were published in the electronic journal of the Croatian writer Miljenko Jergović “The Eiffel Bridge”and in the printed journal of the Istrian branch of the Croatian Writers' Association “New Istria”.
Najiba Abdellaoui - Writer from The Netherlands
Is a Moroccan-Dutch poet, writer and communications professional. It was hip-hop that first inspired her to explore her voice as a writer. This led to many stories, national and international spoken word performances and workshop rooms where she encourages youngsters to unravel the stories they carry within them. The power of self-expression and what it can do for the sense of identity, self-confidence and emancipation of youngsters continuous to amaze and motivate her to further explore the world of storytelling.
Shamisa Debroey - illustrator from Belgium
Graduated in 2011 from Sint Lukas Brussels with her first graphic novel “Verdwaald”, which was published by Oog&Blik/De Bezige Bij. The novel was well received by Focus Knack, De Morgen and De Standaard. Since then she has won the African Artist Award and Up-and-coming-talent Award by TheAuthors. She is currently working as a freelance artist, curator and art-organiser for clients like Apple, NRC Handelsblad, Vooruit and many more.
Inês Viegas Oliveira - illustrator and writer from Portugal
Was born in 1995 at the sunny southern city of Tavira, Portugal. In an old tape recorded by her father, she incessantly repeats to the camera “and now, what should I do?”. She has a Bachelor’s in Physics and an interrupted Master’s in Mathematics. In 2019, she earned a post graduate degree in Illustration. In the following year, Inês was selected to the Illustrators Exhibition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She still questions everything, but now she occasionally stops to draw. Her first picture book will be published by Bruaá in 2020.
Manaf Alattar - illustrator from Germany
Was born in Syria and he started drawing since he can remember. He studied Graphic Design but never got to graduate, due to the situation in Syria. Manaf moved to Istanbul in 2014 and started his art page on facebook to stay motivated to keep doing more art. His art has always been a way to express himself and he has been keen on creating his own style. After moving to Berlin, almost two years later, he started mixing music with art and always tries to find new ways to improve himself.
Staša Guček - illustrator from Slovenia
Is creating connections between various fields of art, technology and sound. She is floating between scientific and imaginary illustration, analog electronics, bioacoustics, field recordings and grows affinity and care for the world of insects and fragile ecosystems. She is developing custom stand-alone analog electronic instruments and mentoring DIY soldering workshops. She is a member of an experimental musical collective Kikimore creating ambiental noise sound scapes.
We are looking forward to working with these six talents! Stay tuned to find out more about the writers and illustrators that will mentor them throughout the Talent Development Programme. The Talent Development Programme is supported by the Dutch Foundation for Literature and Creative Europe.