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

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. In summer 2023, to coincide with Pride celebrations, we’ll publish 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. 

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 very best writing and illustration.

If you or someone you know is LGBTQ+, between the ages of 14-26, living in any of the cities listed above, and talented or passionate about writing or illustration, email Lauren ( for an application pack!

In summer 2023, 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. 

Our aim is to publish The Rainbow Library in summer 2023 – watch this space for more details!

Authors and artists involved include: Non Pratt, Fredde Lanka, David Roberts, Jay Hulme, James Mayhew, Jamie Beard and more to be confirmed soon.