The Highlights Foundation has announced a two-year fellowship in children’s literature for Muslim Storytellers.
The fellowship is funded by a grant with the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s (DDFIA) Building Bridges Program. The mission of the Building Bridges Program is to support national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities.
The fellowship aims to further that bridge-building mission by creating space for more diverse, authentic Muslim narratives for children and young adults, and by addressing common misperceptions of those narratives in the children’s publishing industry.
The fellowship will support these 16 Muslim storytellers over the course of two years through online and in-person workshops, mentorship, and retreats centered on:
The program will also impact the greater children’s book industry through online and in-person events.
We held an informational webinar with the members of the fellowship programming committee before the application process, where they gave a program overview and joined in community discussion. You can watch the recording of the webinar here. You can also read the press release announcing the program here.
Our application period is now closed. For more information about future opportunities for Muslim Storytellers and other Highlights Foundation offerings, please sign up for our mailing list.
The Muslim Storytellers Fellowship is a working program with flexibility to add and adapt sessions as we discover the needs of our writers and illustrators.
Many of the sessions will take place online within our Muslim Storytellers Fellowship community, some sessions will take place on an individual basis online or at the Highlights Foundation retreat center in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The Muslim Storytellers Fellowship will focus on:
The program will include:
Schedules will be finalized over the course of the fellowship, but some commitments include:
The Highlights Foundation is striving to work in coordination with organizations and individual storytellers who, together, have spent decades calling for greater representation of Muslim storytellers and stories for children.
The fellowship programming committee includes several Muslim authors at various points in their journey of creating for children and teens, including the storytellers below (click on their photos to learn more about them). They hope that the diversity and plurality of the Muslim community and Muslim narratives shines through in this program, and that it creates a lasting community of Muslim children’s authors and illustrators across backgrounds.
They also hope that the community can build upon itself to bring about sustained positive change:that more Muslim children will be able to see themselves in their own books, and that all children can see more Muslims in the stories they read.
The Highlights Foundation is currently working with the program committee to build out the sessions and opportunities for the fellowship. If you or your organization can offer support to Muslim Storytellers and are interested in participating, please contact us via this form.