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Call for Every Story Matters: Talent Development Programme


This programme will guide six talented writers and illustrators from six different European countries to produce inclusive stories for children. Each participant will be matched to a mentor from their own country. The mentor is an experienced author or illustrator with a large network and will coach the participants in writing or drawing stories. During the programme, the participants can follow workshops and online masterclasses to deepen their knowledge of inclusive storytelling. Residencies will give participants the opportunity to further work on their stories while being in a new environment. 



Do you match our profile?


  • You are an upcoming writer and/or illustrator that has published no more than one book (or hasn't published a book yet).

  • You want to further develop your skills in inclusive storytelling.

  • You have some experience with writing or illustrating children’s or youth literature and can showcase your work.

  • You live in a country that participates in Every Story Matters. These are: Flanders & Brussels (Belgium), Croatia, Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Slovenia.

  • You are able to fluently communicate about your work in English.

  • You have experience or a strong affinity with diversity and inclusion in contemporary society. We understand inclusion as the equality of opportunity for everyone, regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background, gender, sexual preference, and physical or mental disabilities.

  • You are committed to participate in all parts of the programme.



What do we offer?


  • You will get the chance to work on an inclusive story under the guidance of an experienced mentor.

  • You can deepen your knowledge on inclusive storytelling by following workshops and online masterclasses from experienced, international writers and illustrators, role models and key figures in literature.

  • You will be able to present and pitch your work to publishers from around the world.

  • You can expand your international network in the literary field.

  • We will cover all travel and accommodation expenses.

  • You will receive a fee for participating in the Talent Programme (1.000 euro, over the total length of the programme).

  • The participating talents will have the intellectual property rights of the story.



What do we aim for with inclusive books? 


  • The illustrations are or the manuscript is of high quality (in terms of language/technical skills, construction/composition, storyline) or has the potential to be, in collaboration with an experienced coach.

  • The illustrations/story is innovative or it is an important addition to the current illustrations/story landscape.

  • The illustrations/story contributes to the representation of today's society in all its diversity.



When and where does the programme take place?


After selecting the participants, the Talent Programme will start in February 2020. You will be expected to finish your story/illustrations by 30 June 2021. During this period, you are expected to follow (online) workshops and masterclasses. In October 2021 and October 2022, you will present your work at the Frankfurt Book Fair. 



Key moments are:


  • Kick-off and workshops: 30 March - 4 April 2020 at the Children’s Book Fair of Bologna (Italy).

  • Online masterclasses: May 2020 - December 2020 in your home country.

  • Residencies: somewhere between January 2021 and 30 June 2021 in a partner country for the duration of approximately two weeks - to be specified further, depending on preference and availability. During this period, you will finalize your story.

  • Pitch/presentation: 20-24 October 2021 & 19-23 October 2022 at the Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany) and 21-27 May 2022 at the Zagreb Book Festival (Croatia). We will also invite a selection of the participants to the Zagreb Book Festival in 2021 (21-27 May 2021)



Deadline for application:


Wednesday 15 January at 12:00 (Brussels Time, GMT+1)


The successful applicants will be informed no later than 10 February 2020 - all other applicants will be contacted thereafter.



How do I apply?


Send the following information to Please note that applications should be in English.

  • A cover letter stating why you would like to participate in Every Story Matters Talent Programme and your expectations of the project (up to 1 A4 page maximum) - in English

  • A CV (2 A4 page maximum) - in English

  • A sample or portfolio of previously written work, sketches or ideas that represent your style (a minimum of 5 A4 pages/5 images and a maximum of 20 A4 pages/20 images) - preferred language: English.

Please ensure that you put Application Talent Programme in the subject line and place all your documents into one attachment. Please confirm that you are available to attend all sessions of the programme and that you are willing to travel to the designated locations. 





If you have any questions, you can send us an email:



About Every Story Matters


Every Story Matters (ESM) is a close collaboration between six European partners - from Flanders (Belgium), Croatia, Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Slovenia - that all have a different role and perspective within the literary field. This project focuses on the creation of inclusive books for children and young adults and by doing so engage a broader and more diverse reading audience. By increasing the number of inclusive books that is published and presented each year, ESM wants to invest in a culture of tolerance by gradually making diversity in children’s literature mainstream. 

The Talent Development Programme is financially supported by the Dutch Foundation for Literature.


Torquoise blue background.

Talent Development Programme 

 Call for participants 

We are looking for talented writers and illustrators!

 Deadline Wednesday 15 January at 12:00 (Brussels Time, GMT+1) 

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