I’m Emmy Clarke, queer, neurodivergent children’s writer, poet, Future Fire, and Founding Editor of Changeling Annual. You may have read my children’s story, “Vampire Hunter Jess” in “Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful”, or even heard me read it at Sale Library for Pride in Trafford in 2022. I’ve been a busy bee since my time as a Stories of Care participant, and I’m so thankful to the team for helping me unlock my courage to pursue my dream of writing for children.
Since Stories of Care Chapter 2, I’ve had my poetry accepted in several publications including Lucent Dreaming, VAINE Magazine, and Bent Key’s “Ey Up! 2”. As well as this, my children’s fiction has been published in Storytime Magazine and Little Thoughts Press, and this year my unpublished debut children’s book was shortlisted for Writing Magazine’s Chapter Book Award.
Spurred by these successes, I went from working as a Bookseller, to a Trainee Administrator at World Book Day UK, learning the ropes of the publishing industry from varying angles as I took part in a 6-month mentorship at Penguin Random House.
Stories of Care also inspired me to pursue another dream of mine: designing and publishing a magazine for children – helping to uplift others, the way Stories of Care uplifted me.
I applied to Contact Theatre’s 2022/23 Future Fires scheme with my idea. And guess when I found out I’d been invited for an interview? The same night as the “Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful” book launch. How serendipitous!
I was accepted as a Future Fire and given exceptional project management training and a grant to produce the first issue of Changeling Annual.
Changeling Annual is a collection of activities, comics, illustration, poetry, and short fiction for children. It’s a one-of-a-kind publication, because it ONLY features neurodivergent talent. That’s right — 112 shiny full-colour pages showcasing 30 wonderfully talented emerging neurodivergent creatives from around the world!
Neurodivergent creatives are sorely underrepresented and underestimated in children’s publishing. Finding the industry largely inaccessible as a neurodivergent writer, I wanted to champion neurodivergent creatives like me by establishing a new structure, with accessibility at its heart. The response was incredible, and I’m delighted to say…
Changeling Annual 2023 was published on 29 May! It even features an exclusive stand-alone sequel story to “Vampire Hunter Jess” – “Crush”, featuring Ellie, Jess, and Ellie’s sibling Lyric.
I will forever be thankful for my time at Stories of Care. I learned so much about myself, challenged myself in ways I’d never have dreamed possible, and met such wonderful people. It set me on an incredible path in my dream career. I’ll never forget a single moment!