European project ‘Every Story Matters’
Even in today’s superdiverse society, the range of stories, authors and readers in the literary sector remains limited. For that reason ‘Every Story Matters. A charter for a more inclusive book and literature sector’ was launched in Flanders earlier this year. It was an initiative of 'BoekenOverleg', a network in which all relevant players from the book sector in Flanders are represented. The charter identifies a number of concrete areas for action to help the sector work towards lasting diversity in Flanders. Since its launch on 1 April, a total of 157 organisations and individuals have signed the charter.
The aim is to initiate and support the creation, availability and promotion of inclusive books in the EU.
Unfortunately, a non-inclusive literary sector is not unique to Flanders. In other European countries, too, not everybody feels welcome to participate in literature and many barriers and imbalances remain in place. To instigate change on a European level, Flanders Literature and five partner organisations have launched ‘Every Story Matters – making books more inclusive’. This European project seeks to initiate and support the creation, availability and promotion of inclusive books in the EU. At present the focus is on children’s and young adult literature.
The aim of ‘Every Story Matters’ is to develop new, inclusive stories through a talent development programme. Taking its cue from the needs and experiences of children, this will happen at workshops in schools and libraries in the participating countries. The inclusive stories that come out of this will be presented at international book fairs, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and at festivals, readings and in schools, so they can inspire a young and diverse readership. With the help of a European version of the inclusion charter and a visitor programme, ‘Every Story Matters’ also wants to help publishers and other professionals in the book sector reach new authors, illustrators and readers.
‘Every Story Matters’ is a collaboration between Flanders Literature (Belgium), ROSE stories (Netherlands), JAK Slovenian Book Agency (Slovenia), Acesso Cultura (Portugal), blue dar (Germany) and Mediart International (Croatia). The project is co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme.