A boutique book development company, CAKE Literary brings handcrafted but high concept reads to middle grade, teen and women's fiction audiences. Our projects present fresh new voices, delicious ideas, and startling storytelling. CAKE works with smart, daring writers to create compulsively readable fiction with a decidedly diverse bent.
CAKE Literary is a collaboration between New School MFA grads Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, who connected on their first day of class in the university's acclaimed Writing for Children program. The pair quickly bonded over the fact that they didn't see kids that looked like them in books for kids and teens growing up — and still don't see enough of them today. Sona and Dhonielle founded CAKE with the idea that you can have rich, diversity-infused reads that are still compulsively readable — and very relatable. Shiny Broken Pieces, the follow up to CAKE's first project and the pair's first novel, Tiny Pretty Things, was published by HarperTeen in the summer of 2016.
An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by everyone from the New York Times to TeenVogue, Sona Charaipotra is also a former reporter at People and editor at the dearly departed TeenPeople. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Pretty Little Liars. But call it research: Sona is a strong believer that three-act structure can work in fiction, too. She is proud to serve as head of content for We Need Diverse Books. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or on Twitter @sona_c
Flavor: Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting — rich and a bit unexpected
Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Dhonielle J. Clayton spent much of her childhood hiding beneath her grandmother's dining table with a stack of books. As an English teacher at a ballet academy, Clayton rediscovered her passion for children's and young adult literature. To ground herself in the canon, she pursued her Masters in Children's Literature from Hollins University before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She is a former middle school librarian, where she pestered children to read and curated a diverse collection. An avid traveler, Dhonielle's lived in several foreign countries, but she's now settled in Harlem, where you'll find her writing late into the night, lurking in libraries, and hunting for the best slice of New York pizza. She is the COO of We Need Diverse Books and her debut fantasy, The Belles, hits shelves in February 2018 via Disney-Hyperion. Find her on the web at DhonielleClayton.com or on Twitter @brownbookworm
Flavor: Red Velvet Cake —
a surprising Southern specialty