Accord Literary is a partnership formed by Sarah Odedina and Deborah Ahenkorah to mentor, develop and encourage writers based in Africa writing books for young readers. Our mission is to find original and unique voices and get their books into the hands of readers around the world.
Accord Literary as a venture is the first of its kind - a collaboration between two of the industry's most respected professionals who will focus on developing talent based in Africa. Between them, Deborah and Sarah have a wealth of experience in children’s publishing and a wide network of contacts with whom they will work to ensure that a greater range of stories that reflect African experiences are enjoyed by children from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Tokyo to Lagos.
More about the team:
Growing up in Accra, Ghana, as a young girl who read voraciously, Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum often wondered why the storybook characters she loved did not look like her. Starting as a teenager, she has built and led several organizations all of whose goals have been to give children across Africa culturally-relevant books to fall in love with. Her publishing house, African Bureau Stories, is committed to providing increased opportunities for African writers and illustrators to publish locally and internationally. Deborah Ahenkorah also established the Golden Baobab Prize, the prestigious literary award which over the past ten years has discovered and supported children's book authors and illustrators across Africa. Deborah has championed and advocated for the African children’s literature industry from grassroots levels to large global stages such as the World Economic Forum. She is an award-winning entrepreneur and her work has been celebrated by international organizations such as Echoing Green, the Aspen Institute and the Grinnell Prize for Social Justice. She is a recipient of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award given by His Highness the Aga Khan and the government of Canada recognizing her efforts to promote African children's literature as a way to build a more inclusive world. Deborah is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and lives in Accra with her husband and little boy.
While at University Sarah met her husband the Nigerian artist, Abe Odedina. They have two daughters and when their children were small they struggled to find books and stories that they felt offered their London based family a realistic and positive portrayal of the African continent. Now 30 years later the need for a wider range of voices remains. Sarah sees her work as a publisher and as a Director of Accord as an opportunity to bring African writers telling their stories of life on the continent to readers worldwide. Sarah Odedina has worked in publishing for more than two decades. As the Publishing Director of the children’s list of Bloomsbury Publishing, she oversaw the publication of the Harry Potter series as well as published many other best-selling prize-winning novels and picture books. In 2011 Sarah founded the successful and award-winning Hot Key Books. Sarah is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press commissioning titles for the children's and YA list. She is the co-founder of Scoop Magazine for children. Sarah travels around the world giving talks and hosting workshops about publishing and children’s literature. She also teaches creative writing focusing on books for young readers.
Open for submissions
We are open for submissions for novels written for young readers aged between 8 and 16 years old. Submissions must include a bio, a synopsis and either the entire work of fiction or the first three chapters. The book should either be for a younger reader aged 8 to 12 and up to 50,000 words long or for an older reader aged 12 to 16 and up to 75,000 words long. The book can be in any genre from historical to fantasy and be about any theme.
The deadline for submissions is the 15th March 2020 and we shall contact writers with whom we would like to work by 31st June 2020. Authors whose works are not accepted will be notified and their works will be deleted from our system.
Terms and Conditions:
Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are proud to be working with the following authors. Discover their full bios here.
Ruby Yayra Goka
Writes issue-centred books for teenagers
Akua Serwaa Amankwah
Writes character-driven middle grade fiction
P Ochieng Ochieng
Writes voice-driven literary fiction for young teens
Writes family-focused middle grade adventures
Setor Fiadzigbey and Kobe Ofei
A creative partnership making graphic novels
Do you only work with African authors?
Yes we do. We feel that the relatively few African writers who find world-wide publication in the children’s field is an issue that we can directly engage with and help to make a difference.
Can I submit adult fiction?
Our focus is on children’s literature and books for young readers. If you have written an adult book perhaps you can think about submitting it for some of the many prizes that are open to adult authors or you can submit directly to publishers or agents. The Writers and Artists Handbook is a very helpful resource with lists of literary agents, prizes and publishers and what they are all looking for: https://www.writersandartists.co.uk We also recommend following these book bloggers and websites that regularly share about opportunities open to African writers of Adult fiction:
Who will my publisher be?
Accord Literary will act as your agent finding you the best publishers around the world, ensuring that you find a publishing partner that will support you and your writing. We have a wide network of contacts in the publishing industry and will put in place a support group of sub-agents and champions who will take your book out to publishers in multiple languages and territories around the world.
What happens if my work is not selected for mentoring?
Accord Literary will acknowledge all submissions and let people know if their work is not selected for mentoring. On notification we shall delete all copies of the submitted work from our system and database. We are very sorry but we will not be able to offer anyone whose work is not selected editorial advice or feedback.
What happens after my story is selected by Accord Literary?
We will work with you to edit your novel. Sometimes this is a quick process with just one or two rounds of comments and other times it is longer with three, four or even more rounds of comments. Our aim is to get the novel to the point where it can be submitted to publishers who will enter contracts to publish the book in their markets. This is where the author will begin to earn income from all the hard work to-date. Accord Literary will earn a commission for its work. Once we select your manuscript and before mentoring starts, we will ask that you enter an agreement with us so that we have your authority to submit your book worldwide. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask us: email@example.com.
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