New opportunities for publishing across Wales as Books Council of Wales announces recipients of New Audiences Grant
The Books Council of Wales, alongside Creative Wales, has today announced the recipients of £186,000 of grant funding to create new opportunities and develop new audiences within the publishing sector in Wales.
The New Audiences Grant will fund thirteen projects initially, with projects ranging from setting up new publishing houses owned and run by editors and authors from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, to digital platforms for reaching new audiences, to mentoring authors from under-represented backgrounds, and community-based projects for collecting and telling stories.
Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “We were delighted that Creative Wales responded so positively to our proposal to create new opportunities within the publishing sector in Wales. The purpose of the grant is to strengthen and diversify the parts of the publishing industry we at the Books Council currently support, and the grants specifically prioritise new publishing ventures, authors and audiences.
“The independent panel were looking for projects that would be catalysts for change wherever they are in the sector, and it was fantastic to see so many new and dynamic ideas in the applications – whether they are for new publishing businesses, launching new titles, diversifying professional networks, or working with local communities to ensure that under-represented voices are heard.
“We are pleased to have been able to award £186,000 of the funding immediately, with some projects identified for further development and collaboration later in the year.”
Dawn Bowden, the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “I am delighted that Creative Wales have been able to provide this funding that will make a real difference in diversifying the publishing sector in Wales – and give under-represented groups a chance to tell their story. The Books Council have created a grants programme that will support an exciting and wide range of projects and I’m looking forward to seeing them develop over the coming months.”
Grants were available in 3 categories: Band A – up to £2,500, Band B – £2,501 to £15,000 and Band C – £15,001 to £40,000, and funding was awarded to projects in all three bands. The successful applications include:
Lucent Dreaming – new publishing house (Band C)
Lucent Dreaming will be Wales’s first funded book and magazine publisher led by and employing two full-time editors of colour. Founded in 2017, Lucent Dreaming began as a bi-annual volunteer-run creative writing magazine for new and emerging authors; however, with the new funding it will develop to include book publishing and aims to platform new and emerging writers and foster new editors and publishing professionals from under-represented backgrounds in Wales. Novel submissions for Lucent Dreaming are open.
Jannat Ahmed, Editor in Chief and co-founder of Lucent Dreaming, said: “After several years of volunteer-led magazine publishing, this fund will be transformative for me, and for the book industry in Wales. We look forward to publishing books from emerging authors and artists in the UK and bring Wales and Lucent Dreaming to international audiences.”
Just Another Poet – bringing poetry to new, younger, and more diverse audiences in Wales through digital and mobile platforms (Band B)
Just Another Poet is a YouTube channel founded by Cardiff poet Taz Rahman in May 2019. The channel features interviews with poets and filming of poetry events as well as an upcoming segment of accessible literary documentaries for an in-depth look at poetry and literature in Wales. Taz would be widening the scope of programming and introducing additional segments focusing on emerging literary talent in Wales, as well as highlighting the importance of bookshops and libraries to the literary culture. With the grant funding, Taz will target a new and diverse mobile device digital audience, utilise social media channels to broaden the scope of interest in poetry and literature in Wales, as well as increase the visibility of Welsh writers.
Graffeg – a new digital magazine to facilitate and encourage access to publishing for disabled people (Band B)
Graffeg are a Llanelli-based publisher, publishing non-fiction illustrated books and illustrated fiction for children. Their proposal – for a digital magazine facilitating access to publishing as a career – aims to address the under-representation of disabled people in literature, and barriers to working as a writer or publisher for disabled people.
Pontio, BLAS and North Wales Africa Society – Reading Club project (Band A)
The aim of this joint project between Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor, its Arts Participation Project BLAS, and the North Wales Africa Society, is to encourage reading for pleasure and for families to read together. Over a series of workshops, families from the North Wales Africa Society will create a children’s book which they will then receive as a gift to keep and enjoy at home together. Writer Casia Wiliam and artist Jac Jones will work with the families, alongside sessions to be held with Welsh and African storytellers and musicians, to explore traditional stories, both spoken and in song.
The grant funding for the new projects was allocated in April 2022. The full list of projects can be found on the Books Council of Wales’s website, Grants | Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.