The publishing industry has been widely criticized for its lack of BIPOC voices. At She Writes Press and SparkPress, we are well aware of the need for more and broader representation of BIPOC authors on our lists.

In an effort to address this issue head-on we launched the She Writes Press and SparkPress Toward Equality in Publishing (STEP) contest in 2018 to offer a publishing package (plus a 500-book print run) to publish on either She Writes Press or SparkPress.

It’s our fourth contest year, and after reading through 64 phenomenal manuscript submissions—about a 20% increase in contestants from the last contest year!—we narrowed it down to five top contest finalists.

Meet our lovely finalists below, and show them some love on social!

Fatima Henson, author of Love in the Age of Dragons

Fatima Henson is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She is a passionate and talented US history teacher and writer, with a penchant for dystopian and fantasy storytelling. She is an alum of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and American University in Washington D.C.

Much of her work seeks to swing open the doors of imagination into fantastical worlds where she reveals the deep and intimate lives of young Black characters thriving against persistent and remarkable obstacles.

Twitter: @f_henson
Instagram: @fatima.r.henson

Kat Bishop, author of Crocodile Tears

Kat Bishop is an author of romance and women’s fiction, a digital marketing veteran, a natural innovator and a thought leader. She enjoys a well-crafted cocktail—bonus points if it involves bourbon.

Kat is a feminist, an oenophile, a cinephile, a social-justice fighter—and above all else, a glutton for a good story.

Twitter: @katishopauthor
Instagram: @katbishopauthor
Facebook: @kat.bishp.9