Walter Grant – Submission Guidelines



SUBMISSIONS OPEN: April 15, 2016


About the Walter Dean Myers Grant

The Walter Dean Myers Grant is named in honor of the celebrated children’s book author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Walter Dean Myers was a lifelong advocate for diversity in youth literature, and a National Book Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His legacy can be seen in the thousands of lives he touched, including those of readers and authors alike. His legacy is also reflected in the We Need Diverse Books™ organization. WNDB™ seeks to honor his memory by establishing this grant in his name.

There will be five winners of the Walter Grant, and the grant amount will be $2000 each.


  • Applicants must identify as diverse (defined below).
  • Applicants must be unpublished as illustrators and/or authors. This includes both trade publishing and self-publishing. If the applicant has a book deal for an as yet unpublished book, the applicant is considered published for purposes of this grant. Essays, short stories, and articles do not render an applicant ineligible.
  • Applicant must be working toward a career as a children’s author and/or illustrator. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Picture Books
    • Early Reader Books
    • Chapter Books
    • Middle Grade Books
    • Young Adult
    • Graphic Novels
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry


What is meant by diverse?

Applicants must identify as one or more of the following:

  • Person of color
  • Native American
  • Person with a disability
  • Marginalized religious or cultural minority

Please note:

  • The applicant themselves must be diverse. Being married to, a parent of, or a sibling of a diverse person, or being someone who has grown up with diverse people, will not qualify an otherwise ineligible applicant.
  • Work submitted for consideration of the Walter Grant must not be work currently on submission. If the work being considered for the Walter Grant subsequently goes on submission, applicant is required to notify the Walter Grant committee.


Submission Guidelines

Applicants are invited to submit an application for consideration to the Walter Grant judging committee at The following are required for consideration:

  • A cover letter expressing interest in submitting for the Walter Grant. The cover letter must include:
    • Full name
    • Address
    • E-mail address
    • Phone number
    • Diversity the applicant identifies with.
    • The genre of the manuscript for which the applicant is seeking grant support.
    • A brief one-sentence statement by the applicant stating their name and that they have never been published as an author or illustrator.
      • Please note: If applicant receives a book deal during the Walter Grant process, applicant is required to notify the committee.
  • An essay, double-spaced, one-inch margins, discussing how diversity impacts the applicant’s writing and illustrating career. Maximum word count 500 words.
  • A brief statement explaining how the applicant intends to use the grant money to further their writing career. Maximum word count 200 words.
  • A brief summary of the work sample being submitted. Please note this should be a summary, not a pitch. Maximum word count 200 words.
  • Work sample in the genre you are seeking grant support. Please choose only one or the other to submit.
    • Authors: maximum of 2,500-word sample of writing. Sample must be in the genre the author seeks grant support for.
    • Illustrators: minimum of 4 and maximum of 6 illustration samples.
      • Please note: Illustrations must be scanned and submitted as PDF. Please do not submit originals.

Please Note: All of the above must be submitted as a single PDF document. The applicant’s name [last name, first name] must be included in the header on each page. The author’s first and last name must be included in the name of the PDF file.


Any submission received that does not meet these requirements will be purged without being read.


The last date to send in an application is May 15, 2016 at 12am EDT.  Any applications received after this date will not be eligible. Note that the Walter Grant is limited to US residents only.


We look forward to your submissions! For additional information please direct any questions to