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Responsible Representation: Writing Diverse Commercial Fiction for Middle-Grade and Young Adult Readers 2018 | August 18 – August 21, 2018

Explore ways to include diversity in your work.

Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton are generous stewards of the children’s book community. Along with their work as authors, Sona and Dhonielle are the founders of CAKE Literary, a book development agency.

With a background in journalism and screenwriting, Sona is a team member of We Need Diverse Books. She is the author of Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces (co-authored by Dhonielle). The pair recently announced their third collaboration, Rumor Game (Disney Hyperion).

Donielle is the chief operating officer of We Need Diverse Books. In addition to her stunning solo debut, The Belles, Dhonielle contributed to Meet Cute, a short story collection of first love, as well as The Radical Element, a collection of female stories of revolution and resistance.

In August, Dhonielle and Sona, along with special guests agent Linda Camacho and editor Patrice Caldwell, will join us at the Highlights Foundation for this immersive workshop.

Providing readers with authentic, respectful experiences is a writer’s responsibility, whether creating story from lived experiences or from the outside. Dhonielle and Sona will ask fellow writers to dig deeply into their own beliefs, considering why they write and to whom their stories speak. They will look for active contributors at the workshop and hope to nurture new voices and new stories within the writing community.

Instead of the old writing adage–write what you know–learn how to know what to write, especially when creating authentic worlds and characters that provide windows and mirrors for the next generation of readers. Whether you’re drawing from your own experience or outside of it, writing diversely demands research, empathy, attention to detail, an interrogation of one’s own place in this world, and a willingness to be open-minded. In this workshop, the emphasis will be on respectful and responsible representation and craft.

Special scholarship note:
In addition to the Highlights Foundation’s scholarship program, the faculty will review applications for two $500 grants to help defer the cost of this workshop. To apply, under “Select the Scholarship You’re Applying For” please select Responsible Representation from the pull-down menu here. Deadline to apply is June 21.

Faculty & Special Guests