Alice Curry (Founder) with Chicken in the Kitchen author Nnedi Okorafor and illustrator Mehrdokht Amini at the Children’s Africana Book Awards.

Lantana Publishing is a young, female-led independent publishing house producing diverse and inclusive picture books for children. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Alice Curry, Lantana began with a publishing programme of just three books. We have since worked with authors and illustrators from nearly 20 countries, creating award-winning picture books that celebrate openness and inclusion. We were delighted when earlier this year Lantana was shortlisted for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year and thrilled when Alice won the 2017 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, an award given to a woman working in the book trade who has made an exceptional contribution to the industry.

Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini.

Our strapline, ‘Because all children deserve to see themselves in the books they read’, is at the heart of everything we do at Lantana. In our short history, we have received critical acclaim for our books that celebrate cultures around the world, including one of our first titles, Chicken in the Kitchen, about a little girl in a Nigerian suburb who joins a masquerade procession, which won the Children’s Africana Best Book Award 2016 and a Kate Greenaway Medal nomination. While we believe that these windows into the world are vital for an open and outward-facing community, we also acknowledge that there are many aspiring writers closer to home who lack the opportunity, confidence or means to publish in mainstream houses, as well as young readers who might identify more strongly with a black British child living in the UK, or with author role-models at home rather than abroad.

Nimesh the Adventurer by Ranjit Singh and Mehrdokht Amini

We feel strongly that the desire to become a writer or illustrator can be nurtured and encouraged from an early age and it has been important to us to take our books and our authors into schools and libraries in under-resourced boroughs of London, such as Lambeth and Tower Hamlets, to plant seeds of encouragement and confidence in authors and illustrators of the future. Looking ahead, we aim to develop an extended mentorship programme for BAME writers following the successful model established by Leila Rasheed in Megaphone Write last year. Our upcoming Spring 2018 title Nimesh the Adventurer by Ranjit Singh, a London-based debut author of Indian Sikh heritage, stems from this drive to open up a space for diverse voices closer to home, and we are excited to expand this programme outwards to new voices and new stories in the years to come.

Katrina Gutierrez (Director)

To find out more about the Clarissa Luard Award for independent publishers, click here.