class="post-19579 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities tag-ace tag-dycp tag-funding tag-london tag-writers"FREE WORKSHOP ON APPLYING FOR DEVELOPING YOUR CREATIVE PRACTICE FUNDING

The Arts Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice scheme is for individual artists to apply for lottery funding to develop a new piece of creative work and a new way of working. You can apply for up to £10,000 towards your project which could cover mentoring, time to write, research, or professional development costs. Whatever it is you want to do, the project you have in mind must be about making a step-change in the kind of work you produce  

If you are not familiar with applying for grant funding, filling out an application form can be a daunting and baffling process. Eva Lewin, Spread the Word’s Writer Development Manager, will be running a free workshop on Tuesday 9 July (6:30-8:30pm) at Spread the Word’s offices for London-based writers. She will talk you through the different questions in the DYCP form to help you think about how you can respond to them.  

Once you have attended the workshop, you can book for a one-to-one with Spread the Word to look at your draft application in more detail.   

For the workshop, you will need:  

This workshop will:

Places are limited and offered on a first come, first served basis. Because of the nature of the workshop, we are only able to offer spaces to applicants whose ideas are suitable for this particular funding stream. We anticipate that demand will be high for the workshop so please only book yourself a place if you are committed to attending. 

To apply for this opportunity, email with a brief paragraph on your project idea, and DYCP Workshop in the email Subject line. If you have any access needs or requirements, please include this with your email. Guidance sheets can be found here and hereThere is also an easy read version available here. 

Published 20 June

class="post-19503 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-blogs tag-creatives tag-development tag-lgbtq tag-live-literature tag-london tag-nick-field tag-opportunity tag-pow tag-showcase"POW! BACK TO LIFE!

Olivia Klevron is a qpoc poet and performer from Chicago, IL. Trained as an actor, dancer, and writer, Olivia always attempts to create performance work from a space of overlap between all three practices in an effort to constantly push the boundaries of live performance. Olivia has written a blog on her experience of being part of Pow! in 2018, a development scheme for LGBTQ+ creatives and joining the scheme as an associate artist in 2019…

When I applied to Pow! last year I hadn’t written a long, long while. I was overwhelmed with school, moving to a new city, relationships. AND the world was falling apart. AND I had no money. Staring all of those things in the face, it was hard to justify sitting down at a computer to write. And when I finally found some time to begin, it was even more challenging to consider what I would write about. And what for? I had no idea how to begin the process of submitting my material to be published, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be that kind of writer anyway. I had always loved performing, but it was hard for me to find opportunities in a city that seemed so competitive, spread out, and closed off to me. And I needed to find somewhere queer. I was tired of explaining my politics, my performance, and my desires to rooms full of people who looked at me ‘with interest.’

As I struggled to write and find my place, I spent many of my nights and much of my money at queer nights around London. More than parties, events like Transmissions, Hungama, and Gender Fvcker were spaces where queers could be the most vibrant, freaky, and brazen versions of themselves. For the first time in a long time, I was surrounded by people who created with and performed for queer people. And many of them had no more formal training or age than I did. They were just insistent that LGBTQ+ artists fight for space and expression in the face of the rainbow flags and corporate parades that would silence them. These nights inspired me to begin seeing new possibilities in my own work and brought forth a vision of community I’d begun to lose sight of.

I saw Pow! advertised on the IG story of one of the boldest performers I’d seen on stage. Though the application was slightly daunting in that it required me to pull together work samples (a challenge, I hear, even for the most seasoned artists/writers), create a concrete artist’s statement, and plan the development of a new work, it felt good to be making plans for my own artistic practice. Plus, the applications’ emphasis on my own personal journey and motivations left room for me to fill in gaps I may have had in experience or training. The application took me a few hours to complete, and I sent if off, not really sure what I was getting myself into.

Applying to Pow! ended up being one of the best decisions of the past year. Pow! was the first experience of queer art making I’d had where community was as important as craft. Everyone came into the group with different levels of experience, interests, and mediums. Every weekend was spent steeped in creative exchange and exciting, respectful collaboration. I loved having my ideas challenged and getting the opportunity to be inspired by a range of working artists every week. On less productive days, it was sometimes nice to just chill in everyone’s wide range of queerness and meditate on the beauty of community.

By the end of the workshops, I was writing on a consistent schedule, I felt more confident pursuing performance and publishing opportunities, and I formed sustaining connections with other queer artists who I am still close friends and collaborators with today. Performing at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, one of London’s most historic queer venues, gave me the confidence I needed to begin becoming the queer artist I wanted to be. This year, as a teaching artist, I hope to facilitate an experience equally as transforming and fulfilling for a new round of participants. Prioritising diversity, I hope for Pow! to continue to build a legacy of respect and inclusion that strengthens and centres voices of the emerging LGBTQ+ artists.


What impact did you feel that Pow! had on last year’s cohort and their creative development?

Everyone comes into workshop settings with different goals and perspectives, and everyone should! The strength of Pow!’s programming is that it is tailored to the needs of its participants and does not dictate progress based on set metrics, agendas, or hierarchies. If everyone leaves a workshop feeling inspired, empowered and able to continue work, then the day is a success.

Most importantly, each participant left Pow! last year with something they were excited about pursuing. Several of us expanded the work we began over the summer. One person produced a play, others submitted to Fringe and some began their own performance nights. Spread the Word ensured that all participants were given follow-up support regarding funding, performance opportunities, and professional development, and I think every participant pursued at least one new performance opportunity in the following year.

What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s scheme?

Pow! workshop leaders are some of the most exciting writers and performers currently working in London. They are all high-level professionals who have decided to prioritise one-on-one engagement with emerging queer artists. These workshops will not be offered anywhere else, and they are designed specifically with the interests of emerging queer writers/artists in mind. It is really a privilege to get sustained feedback and attention from artists such as those on the Pow! roster, and I am SO EXCITED to get to do it again.

The scheme covers 10 workshops over 5 days – what are the benefits to running an intensive creative development scheme?

It is incredibly hard to stay focused on creative work considering the capitalist reality we live in (bleh), and the fact that writing/making are hard in general. As a young artist, the best way to discipline creative practice is to have co-creators you are accountable to and to engage with your work on a set schedule. Though Pow!’s structure may seem intense, it creates ideal conditions for generating a new work. It is crucial that all participants act on their ideas and receive immediate feedback so that they can develop a full piece of work with the support of a workshop schedule and audience. I think the intensive scheme also helps participants work through anxiety and self-doubt because, while both are accounted for, neither is allowed to delay the creative process due to the rapid timeline and huge amount of group support.

At the end of the scheme, writers will present a short performance at the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Can you tell me a bit more about the importance of creating a platform for young LGBTQ+ talent and how Pow! facilitates this?

Representation in the queer community is a HUGE topic of conversation right now, but I think Pow! is a space that moves the conversation beyond that. The RVT is a space that is presumed queer, so it facilitates performances that experiment inside of queerness rather than addressing expectations outside of it. Getting on stage at the RVT means becoming a part of a long history of queer performance and activism that is more complicated, vibrant, and free than popular and often tokenising discussions of queer representation. In the current context, it is important the young LGBTQ+ talent understand that they need not use their queer identities to restrict their voices to a single narrative, mode of expression, or identity category. Pow! uses queerness as a formal praxis, encouraging LGBTQ+ artists to experiment as wildly as they can and return to the spirit of weirdo freedom where queerness began.

Do you have any top tips for aspiring applicants applying for this year?

Pow! is a political space. Issues of race/class/gender are discussed openly. Do not be afraid to dive into these issues in your applications. We acknowledge that many LGBTQ artists are still ‘emerging’ because there are few spaces available to them. This space strives to be one, so please, don’t be afraid to say the difficult things.
Prioritise clarity in writing about yourself and your work. While intellectual explanations are important, our main goal is to understand you and your work. The theory can come later.
Review your writing samples. Even if you’re 100% sure that what you’re submitting is a pristine final product, it’s always good to double check. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get inspired and add something new.
Be open and honest. We care a lot about creating a workshop group that is diverse, supportive, and excited about the creative process. Please don’t hesitate to be yourself and share any and all parts of your personality that you think may be important.
Don’t stress. Pow! prioritises joy. Though the development process can be stressful and the program itself is demanding, we want participants to prioritise finding the joy in their work. Include your joy in your application. It’s likely it will spark our own!
Spread the word. While we do have a limited number of spots, we prioritise inclusivity and recognise that our reach may be limited. If you know someone who would be great for Pow! or are part of a community we haven’t reached, please spread our info and the Pow! application far and wide.

Applications for Pow! are open now until 5pm, 1 July.

Published 19 June 2019

class="post-19402 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-interview tag-interview tag-literature-festival tag-primadonna tag-prize tag-sabeena-akhtar tag-writing"An interview with Sabeena Akhtar about brand-new literature festival Primadonna

Primadonna is a new and inclusive literature festival co-created by seventeen women from publishing and entertainment. Running from 30 August – 1 September in Suffolk, Primadonna presents a brilliant line up of events, with emphasis on platforming work by women and emerging new talent. Spread the Word’s Aliya Gulamani spoke to one of the ‘Primadonnas’ – Sabeena Akhtar to find out more…

Aliya: Hi Sabeena! Thanks so much for your time. Primadonna looks like an absolutely brilliant festival – and I love the concept behind it. 17 ‘Primadonnas’, including yourself, came together to form the festival, how did you all link up with each other?

Sabeena: Thank you, we’re working really hard to put together a truly memorable event! The Primadonnas came together out of a desire to create something fresh, equitable and exciting. As a group of women working across the arts and entertainment industries, whispers for the need of a festival spotlighting the work of women had been rife; so when Jane Dyball (former CEO of the MPA) kindly offered a venue, our one woman extraordinaire, Catherine Mayer signalled a call out! Many of us didn’t know each other, but came together out of both a sense of collective responsibility and utter excitement at the thought of attending such an event!

Aliya: I love how Primadonna has a strong centric female-focus as well as showcasing authors from diverse backgrounds, and I’m intrigued as to how you selected the first ever line up for the festival? Were there any specific qualities that you were looking for from the writers and performers?

Sabeena: You know, it’s funny- we often hear people say that they don’t know where to find authors from marginalised backgrounds, but we’ve had no such problem! Our remit was just brilliant writing and we’ve been so overwhelmed with the wealth of talent out there, that we’ve struggled to stick to our programming hours!

Aliya: The festival will run for three days – can you give a bit more detail as to what will happen over those three days and why everyone should go?

Sabeena: Where to begin? Over the festival weekend, patrons can expect the very best of books, music, comedy, locally sourced food and even massages! There will be open mic sessions, interviews, panels and round table events, so everyone has a chance to get stuck in and interact. We’re also fully accessible and family friendly with events for children and adults alike. Personally I’m really looking forward to letting my kids go off and have some fun whilst I sit in on some comedy and the sessions on men writing women and working class authors.

Aliya: I’ve also spotted the Primadonna Prize, which looks fab. Tell me more!

Sabeena: We’re really proud of the Prize. We wanted to use our industry contacts to create access for emerging writers. It’s an opportunity for a previously unpublished writer to gain a platform, win some money and, if they’d like- representation by the award winning Agent of the Year, Cathryn Summerhayes. Further details about the prize can be found here. We’ll also be announcing our awesome judging panel soon, so look out for that.

Aliya: There’s some detail on what’s coming up on the official website but of course, there’ll be some exciting announcements closer to the time. Are you able to share any spoilers or teasers?

Sabeena: Hmm I can’t reveal too much, but let’s just say, if you’re a dirty dancing fan you won’t want to miss this festival!!

Aliya: ‘Cut from the Same Cloth’ is a brilliant book that has been crowd-funded on Unbound, featuring a ground-breaking collection of essays written by British hijabis. You’ve written an essay for the book and will also be editing the book. Will you be talking about this at Primadonna?

Sabeena: Thank you! Cut From the Same Cloth will be published in 2020 and is a project really close to my heart. Whilst we haven’t scheduled a session about it in this years line up, I will be at the festival and happy to discuss the book. One of the things that makes Primadonna so unique is the networking opportunities we’re facilitating for writers. Festival goers will be able to mingle with and meet a whole host of authors, agents and more. Having said that, I’m not sure anyone would want to make a beeline towards me, when they’ll be writers such as Elif Shafak, Kit de Waal and Luke Jennings there!

Aliya: Wow, that sounds great! Whilst Primadonna sounds like a brilliant weekend of fun – what are the ultimate goals of the festival moving forward and what impact would you like it to have on the festival goers in the long run?

Sabeena: Ultimately, we’d like our festival goers to return home having had a fantastic weekend, discovered some new writers and come away feeling like they’ve been part of something special. Because from its inception, this project really has felt like something special. As a working class woman in the arts, I know too well that the imbalance of gender, race and class begins from who has a seat at the table and that’s why I’m so proud to be a founding Primadonna. For me at least, the impact is already being felt.

The Primadonna Festival will be at Laffits Hall, Suffolk IP14 6DT from 30 August-1 September 2019. Tickets are available to purchase here.

Published 18 June

class="post-19284 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-london-short-story-prize category-opportunities"50 free entries for low income writers for The London Short Story Prize 2019

The London Short Story Prize seeks to discover, profile and publish the best short stories and writers coming out of the capital. Now open for its seventh year, Spread the Word is excited to be running the Prize again to platform London’s most talented short story writers.

The winner of the London Short Story Prize 2019 will receive £1000 their short story will be published in Open Pen London. Two highly commended writers will each receive £250. The longlist will be published in the London Short Story Prize 2019 Anthology, which will be launched in April 2020.

We are offering 50 free entries to writers on low-incomes who are not earning the London living wage, are in receipt of benefits and/or receipt of disability allowance, have no income or are on zero hours contracts. If you feel you are on a low income but your situation is not described above, please still apply and let us know what your circumstances are. We won’t ask for documentation to prove your eligibility, but we may conduct spot checks later in the Prize.

To apply for this offer please e-mail with your name, postcode and a short paragraph on why you are eligible for a free entry. If accepted you will be given a private Submittable link and will have until 5pm on 7 October (same as the general submissions guidelines) to submit your story into the competition. There is no deadline to apply for a free entry, but we recommend applying earlier as they will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Please note, if successful you can only submit one free entry per writer into the competition. Additional stories will need to submitted via the general entry and will cost £10 per entry. The London Short Story Prize is for London-based writers only.

Do make sure you read the London Short Story Prize 2019 Rules before you submit.

If you have any further questions, please check out our the London Short Story Prize 2019 FAQs

If you can’t find the answer to your question, then do get in touch.

We’re looking forward to receiving your stories!

Published 14 June 2019

class="post-19345 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news tag-competition tag-free-entry tag-london tag-london-short-story-prize tag-opportunity tag-writers"The London Short Story Prize 2019 is open for entries

The London Short Story Prize 2019 is open for entries. The Prize was launched in 2013 to platform talented short story writers in London. To date we have published six anthologies, celebrated seven winners, have run two festivals and profiled over 50 talented short story writers. Now in its seventh year, our annual prize seeks to discover, publish and profile the best stories and writers coming out of the capital this year.

The winner of the London Short Story Prize 2019  will receive £1000 and their short story will be published in Open Pen London. Two highly commended writers will each receive £250. The full longlist will see their short stories published in the London Short Story Prize 2019 Anthology.

2019 judges 

This year’s judges are writers Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Eley Williams and literary agent, Charlotte Seymour from Andrew Nurnberg Associates. You can find out more about them and what they’re looking for here.


The Prize opens for entries at midday on Friday 14 June and will close at 5pm on Monday 7 October. The longlist will be announced the week commencing 11 October and the winners announced on Tuesday 3 December. The top twelve entries will be published in an anthology which will be launched in April 2020.


The London Short Story Prize is for writers aged 18+ and living in London. Entries must be unpublished and under 5000 words. Please make sure that you read the London Short Story Prize 2019 Rules before entering your story into the Prize.

Entering the Prize 

Entry into the Prize is £10 per entry and multiple entries are permitted. Writers can submit via our Submittable page or via postal entry. All postal entries must have a postal entry form attached with their entries and cheques must be addressed to Spread the Word. The deadline is 5pm on Monday 7 October and any entries received after this will not be entered into the Prize. The address to send postal entries to is: Aliya Gulamani c/o London Short Story Prize 2019, Spread the Word, The Albany, Douglas Way, SE8 4AG. Postal forms are available to download here: London Short Story Prize 2019 Postal Entry Form

Access and inclusivity 

This year we’re offering free entry to up to 50 writers with low-income who are not earning the London living wage, are in receipt of benefits and/or disability allowance, have no income or are on zero hours contracts. There is no deadline to apply for a free entry but as these will be offered on a first come, first served basis, we recommend applying earlier. Writers offered a free entry will have the same deadline as the general entries to submit their story into the competition (5pm, Monday 7 October). For more information on how to apply for this, please visit:

We’re also offering writers with a disability the opportunity to submit their story into the Prize through a different format. Please e-mail, describing how you’d like to submit your story and we will set up the appropriate channels for you. Please note that all stories selected for publication in The London Short Story Prize 2019 Anthology will be translated into written English.

If you have any further questions, please check out our the London Short Story Prize 2019 FAQs. If you can’t find the answer to your question, then do get in touch.

We’re looking forward to receiving your stories!

Published 14 June 2019

class="post-19363 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-interview tag-bar-wotever tag-creativity tag-lgbtq tag-live-literature tag-london tag-pow tag-royal-vauxhall-tavern tag-showcase"Chatting with Nick Field about Pow!
a development scheme for LGBTQ+ creatives

Back for its second year, Nick Field’s Pow! offers a series of free workshops tailored specifically to young LGBTQ+ creatives who want to write and perform their own work, develop their practice and explore the possibilities of live literature. Spread the Word’s Aliya Gulamani spoke to Nick to find out more…

Aliya: It’s brilliant to see that POW! is back again – why did you decide on running it for a second year?

Nick: Yes! I’m really excited Pow! is back again. I was so thrilled with how the project went last year, and it felt really necessary to bring it back. There was so much positive feedback around Pow! and the showcase. I was so proud of what the group achieved, and the showcase, playing to a packed Royal Vauxhall Tavern at Bar Wotever was amazing. So, doing it again felt really right. More than ever it’s important that young LGBTQ+ artists get to find, develop and magnify their voices, and support each other to get their work out there. That’s what Pow! is all about.

Aliya: What impact did you feel that Pow! had on last year’s cohort and their creative development?

Nick: Pow! artists from last year have gone on to develop their work into full shows, get funding to develop their work, raise their profiles and take their work out into the world in new ways. More than anything it proved an opportunity for the cohort to achieve things with their work they didn’t know they could. All of the group were ambitious and brave about what they wanted to do with their work and the pieces they created for the showcase, and I was delighted we could help them realise that.

Aliya: The line up of guest artists looks incredible: Keith Jarrett, Malik Nashad Sharpe and Olivia Klevron will be supporting Pow! What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s scheme?

Nick: I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas progress into realised pieces. I love workshopping new work and helping with dramaturgical support, and that was a big part of the scheme last year. It was so exciting to see ideas come to fruition, and I can’t wait to get that going again. I also loved the input of our amazing guest artists last year, and I’m excited about what they will bring this year.

Aliya: The scheme covers 10 workshops over 5 days – what are the benefits to running an intensive creative development scheme?

Nick: It really enabled the group to become cohesive, become familiar with each other’s work, and support each other to grow as artists, and create the work they wanted. It also means that the workshops inform the process, and I certainly saw participants applying the development opportunities from the workshops to their ideas as they started to realise them. It gives space to think, to experiment and try new approaches, to make mistakes and grow from them and to challenge our perceptions of what we can do to break through to amazing things.

Aliya: At the end of the scheme, writers will present a short performance at the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Can you tell me a bit more about the importance of creating a platform for young LGBTQ+ talent and how Pow! facilitates this please?

Nick: Oh the showcase, what an amazing night! It’s important to create platforms because they are so rare for young LGBTQ+ artists. And it’s vital that these platforms are safe and specific as the work is emerging, so that they can create work that is truly reflective of what they want to say. From there they can, and should go on to take over the world. But it’s important that the platform we offer, as well as the workshops, are nurturing. Bar Wotever provides an amazing way to offer this, one of the most nurturing and supportive places to share work I know.

Aliya: Do you have any top tips for aspiring applicants applying for this year?

Nick: Yes, be ambitious and own it. We don’t need a specific or fully realised idea to apply with, but we want to see that you’re willing to push yourself and build on your experience so far. If you show us you want to take risks and take your work to new places, we will absolutely support you in that.

Interested? Find out more and how to apply for Pow! here. D/L 5pm, 1 July.

Published 12 June