Rising Stars Wales 2021

Literature Wales and Firefly Press invest in three emerging children’s poets from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds based in Wales.

Literature Wales and Firefly Press are thrilled to launch a call out for submissions for the next Rising Stars Wales Award 2021, the second round of an initiative to identify and nurture talented children’s poets from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds based in Wales, with the view to publish an anthology of their work.

In November 2019, Literature Wales and Firefly Press collaborated on the Rising Stars Wales 2020 Award, a new initiative open to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children’s poets living in Wales. The award discovered new talent, provided opportunities, and spotlighted three talented emerging individuals. The poets continue to develop as writers and gain further opportunities as a result of the award. For example, 2020 Rising Star Alex Wharton signed a publishing deal with Firefly Press for his debut children’s poetry collection, Daydreams and Jellybeans, which is due to be published in spring 2021.

“I am deeply grateful accepting this award, I feel it recognizes my passion and dedication for writing Children’s Poetry. It has already opened up a terrific opportunity for me as the wonderful people at Firefly Press will be publishing my full collection of poems Daydreams and Jellybeans early next year. Poems are to be shared, they find the people who need them – and the award has enabled a wider platform for my words. It’s exciting and I am very thankful.” Alex Wharton, Rising Star Wales Award 2020

The Rising Stars Wales 2020 Award anticipated that the writers awarded through the call-out would be considered to produce work for the Rising Stars Wales Anthology. Following a successful application for financial support from the Books Council of Wales, Firefly Press will publish the anthology in early 2022.  Literature Wales and Firefly Press are now looking for 5 additional talented poets to develop under this scheme.

This opportunity is open for early-career writers to develop their creative practice. Over the course of the year, the successful Rising Stars Wales 2021 applicants will receive a financial award, as well as a coaching session from the previous winner of the 2020 Award, Alex Wharton. In addition, the poets will have the opportunity to discover more about the publishing and literature sector from expert professionals at Firefly Press, as well as on-going support and advice from the team at Literature Wales.


What is on offer?

Up to 5 writers will be selected for the Rising Stars Wales 2021 Award and will receive:

  • A cash prize of £100 each*
  • Join the other successful applicants in a 2-hour coaching session with Alex Wharton, the previous winner of the Rising Stars Wales 2020 Award
  • The possibility to have selected works published in the Rising Stars Wales Anthology
  • A group ‘Industry Insight’ workshop with award-winning publisher Firefly Press
  • A group training session focusing on writer development opportunities with Literature Wales staff

*With kind financial support from Quarto Translations

“Just as no language can cover the full range of human experience, so no writer has a monopoly on the way we see the world. Stories are a net, the wider we cast it, the more connections we make. This is why Quarto Translations is proud to sponsor the Rising Stars Wales Award.” Robin Bennett, Founder and Managing Director, Quarto Translations

Who can apply?

Poets or illustrators from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background writing or illustrating work for children aged 7-11 years old. Applicants must be unpublished, based in Wales and be aged 18 or over.


How to apply

To apply, please download the information pack available here, which provides further information and guidance ahead of your application.


Closing Date

The deadline for submissions is: 5.00 pm, Tuesday 8 December 2020. Submissions received after the closing date will unfortunately not be accepted.

Should you have any questions, or would like to discuss your entry before submitting, please contact Literature Wales:


The Rising Stars 2020:

Three talented poets were selected to receive the Rising Stars Award 2020, they were Alex Wharton, Sadia Pineda Hameed and Taylor Edmonds.