Two Writers-in-Residence at the George Padmore Institute in 2021

December 10, 2020

Two exciting authors, Yaba Badoe and Ken Wilson-Max, will be joining the George Padmore Institute (GPI) as Writers-in-Residence to create two books for children.

Both Yaba and Ken have extensive success with their work for children and young adults. With the support of our Archivist, Sarah Garrod, the writers will use the archives, which document the history and stories of Black British communities in the UK, as a source of inspiration. Aimed at 5 to 8 and 9 to 11-year olds, the two books will introduce the rich heritage of our diverse communities to new generations.

As part of the GPI’s Reaching New Generations project funded by an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant, the books will be published in Autumn 2021.Expanding diversity in the children’s book sector and school curriculums is one of this project’s goals. Building social cohesion by being inclusive of all communities is at the heart of the work of the George Padmore Institute.

Yaba Badoe is a Ghanaian-British writer and filmmaker. A graduate of King’s College Cambridge, she was a civil servant in Ghana before becoming a general trainee with the BBC. She has taught in Spain and Jamaica and worked at the University of Ghana. Her first Young Adult novel, A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award in 2018 and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award 2018. The Secret of the Purple Lake, a collection of interlinked fairy stories for children aged 9 to 12 was published by Cassava Republic in October 2017.

Wolf Light, her second Young Adult novel, was published by Zephyr in April 2019.Her short stories have been published in Critical Quarterly, African Love Stories and Daughters of Africa. Yaba's first adult novel, True Murder, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2009. She lives in London. Twitter @yaba_badoe  Facebook: Yaba Badoe

Ken Wilson-Max is an award-winning author, illustrator and publisher of children’s books. He was born in Zimbabwe and lives in London. In 2020his book, Astro Girl, won the STEAM award for early years picture books. Of his other publications, Where's Lenny? was listed as one of the 50 Best Culturally Diverse Children's Books by the Guardian newspaper and Max Paints the House is listed as one of the 150 Important Children's Books by the African American Literature Book Club. Several of his publications are included in the core books list of the Centre for Literature in Primary Education and Book Trust for early years education. Ken is among the 100 Breaking New Ground British writers and illustrators of colour and is a mentor for the Pathways into Children's Publishing programme. He has created over 70 children’s books in his unique illustration style, published by over 15 international publishers in many languages worldwide. The Drum, The Flute, Lenny and Wilbur and Where’s Lenny? are some of his most recent work. In 2017, Ken became publisher at Alanna Max Books and hopes to continue refining his inclusive approach alongside other talented creators.   Twitter @kenwilsonmax  Facebook: Ken Wilson-Max

We warmly welcome Ken and Yaba to the GPI and look forward to their forthcoming books!

A photo of writer Yaba Badoe
(c) Yaba Badoe
A photo of Ken Wilson-Max
(c) Ken Wilson-Max