SelfMadeHero’s Graphic Anthology Programme open for submissions


“The UK comics scene is young, vibrant and culturally progressive, yet there remains a lack of ethnic diversity among published artists and writers. A 2020 survey commissioned by UK Comics Laureate Hannah Berry found that Black and Minority Ethnic artists were less likely to be published by traditional print publishers than their white counterparts. The launch of our Graphic Anthology Programme marks an important step in acknowledging, addressing and reducing this disparity.” Emma Hayley, Managing Director, SelfMadeHero

Spread the Word is delighted to be a partner on SelfMadeHero’s Graphic Anthology Programme (GAP), designed to find, develop, publish and promote emerging comic-book artists from Black, Asian, Arab, mixed-race, Romani/Traveller and non-white Latinx backgrounds from across the UK.

GAP will identify eight exceptional emerging comic-book artists and give them the tools to become publishable creators. Beginning in May, participants will embark on a 12-week online mentoring programme led by five established graphic novelists: Asia Alfasi, Catherine Anyango Grünewald, Sonia Leong, Mustashrik Mahbub, and Woodrow Phoenix. With the mentors’ support, each participant will create a graphic short story, which will then be included in an anthology to be published by SelfMadeHero in October 2021.

During the 12-week programme, participants will work to improve every aspect of their creative practice, from plotting and pacing to language and layout. They will learn how to successfully plan a project, work to deadlines and develop the resilience and skills that a career in graphic novels requires. The programme is free to participate in.

“The lack of professional provision and access for non-white comics creators is very real. It’s great to see a very necessary correction from SelfMadeHero with this new initiative.” Woodrow Phoenix, GAP mentor

“I hope that the Graphic Anthology Programme platform can empower its readers to enrich and expand their worldview, and empower the artists involved to trust in the importance of their stories and the beauty of their expression.” Catherine Anyango Grünewald, GAP mentor

Alongside weekly mentoring sessions, the programme will provide participants with an introduction to the comic-book industry, eight masterclasses from industry professionals and first-hand experience of working with a publisher. The core publishing, editorial and design/production team is made up of Emma Hayley, Txabi Jones and Ayoola Solarin. Spread the Word is an advisor to the programme and will support participants’ writing development.

At the end of the programme, participants’ graphic short stories will be published in an anthology by SelfMadeHero that will be launched at the 2021 Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF).

Who is the Graphic Anthology Programme for?

Emerging comic-book artists, specifically any comics artist or illustrator from a Black, Asian, Arab, mixed-race, Romani/Traveller or non-white Latinx background who has not yet been published by a traditional print publisher. Participants must be over 18 and resident in the UK.

How to apply

The Graphic Anthology Programme is open for submissions until 26 March 2021. For more information and to apply, click on this link:

Key dates:

Call for participants: 19 February to 26 March 2021.

Mentoring programme: 18 May to 11 August 2021 (3 hours a week + 8 masterclasses).

Launch of graphic anthology: 15–17 October 2021.

GAP is made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and additional support from Abrams & Chronicle Books, Oiffy and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Published 22 February 2021