The Rainbow Library

Tackling the exclusion of LGBTQ+ voices in children’s books in the UK and Ireland through a pioneering publishing venture.

The Rainbow Library

Do you identify as LGBTQ+? Are you interested in developing your writing or illustration practice? Manchester Rainbow Library is now open for applications! In partnership with Manchester City of Literature, join Jay Hulme and David Roberts for this exciting new course that consists of 8 days of workshops (in person and online). For more details, download the application pack below!

There are very few LGBTQ+ characters in children’s books, and just a handful of ‘out’ LGBTQ+ children’s writers and illustrators publishing in the UK today. We want to change this! The Rainbow Library is our pioneering initiative to make more books for young readers that include LGBTQ+ identities and experiences. Uniquely, these books will be developed through consultations with LGBTQ+ young people in eight places: Basildon, Nottingham and Manchester in England, Dumfries and Inverness in Scotland, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland, and Cork in the Republic of Ireland. The writers and illustrators will work with the young people to evolve their story concepts, plots and other elements. The young people will also develop their own stories for inclusion in an anthology of the best writing and illustration.

In summer 2023, to coincide with Pride celebrations, we’ll publish these eight LGBTQ+ inclusive titles for young readers of all ages – including picture books, fiction and nonfiction, poetry and comics. And our BIG plan is to get these books into every school and library in the UK and Ireland – supporting teachers and parents to provide rich, inclusive literature for their children. Additionally, Pop Up and three UNESCO Cities of Literature – Nottingham, Manchester and Dublin – will co-present a three-day conference, programmed and presented by LGBTQ+ young people, about some of the themes and experiences that come out of the project.


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