Why do you write for children?
Jackie Dorothy (JD): I'm at kid at heart and my most fun reading adventures have been with kid lit so it was a natural fit for me to write what I love to read! And they are a fun audience.
Judy Allen Dobson (JAD): My passion is to write for children so that they understand the rich history that African Americans have contributed to our great country. Children need to see book characters that look like them which can give them the hope and courage they need to achieve in life.
What does it mean to you to win the
Emerging Voices Award?
JD: I'm so honored to win this award. For me, winning this award has provided a platform to introduce the Arapaho people to the world! Woo3onoheinoo henee heeteinon'eino'! (I'm writing about the Arapaho people.)
JAD: The Emerging Voices award has given me a platform to have my voice be heard. This award has not only given me the courage I needed to take my writing to the next level but it has also validated the need for diversity in literary market.
How do you hope this recognition will help you further your career goals?
JD: When I won the award, my secret came out - I'm a writer! The local paper ran the story and I lost count of the surprised reactions that were all positive. It has already opened some doors for me and led to some great opportunities.
JAD: Being an Emerging Voices winner has allowed me to connect with other writers, editors, agents, and publishers at a higher level. I'm taken more seriously now by others as a writer which means they know I've put in the work and are willing to hear what I have to say. This is the best feeling in the world to have people look at your writing and go "Yep, I see great potential so let me help you."
What is your best advice for other emerging voices?
JD: Keep writing! Don't stop! My winning entry, Wind Rider, a middle grade magical adventure, is still looking for a home. While I shopped that out, I worked on a second project which has sold! A publisher has picked up my picture book about the Cottonwood Star Legend. So the lesson here is to never stop writing and never stop trying.
JAD: I want to say thank you to Lin Oliver, Stephen Mooser, and Sue and Martin Schmitt for believing that diversity in literature matters to children of the world. Without all of them the On-the-Verge New Voices award would not exist at SCBWI. So my advice to the writers of color who want to be the next Emerging Voices winner is to put in the work, believe in yourself, and be the change you want to see in the world today.