class="post-66674 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news category-opportunities"Have your say in the future of Spread the Word – Brand Consultation Focus Groups

As we approach our 30th anniversary, we are having active conversations about the next 30 years. We need to understand whether our current brand is robust enough to support these ambitions. If you are someone who knows our work well or is new to our work, we want to hear your views on how representative our brand is of your experience with Spread the Word and from your understanding of how we want to develop.

We are open to looking at everything – our mission, vision and values, our look and feel, and our name.

We would love you to be part of these discussions and to invite you to an online session or to an in-person focus group to hear your views.

We are running four sessions. Two for those of you who know our work well and two for people who are new to our work.

Session dates and times

For people who know our work well, sessions take place on:

 Please complete this questionnaire by 22 May:

For people who are newer to our work, sessions take place on:

Please complete this questionnaire by 28 May and we will be in touch with the full details:

Focus group participants will be paid £15 each.


Both online focus groups (28 May and 11 June) will have closed captions and the 11 June online focus group will be BSL interpreted.

The Albany access information (29 May focus group):

Deptford Lounge access information (4 June focus group):

Image (C) Kashif Haque

Published: 9 May 2024

class="post-65140 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities tag-diverse-writers tag-feedback tag-opportunity"Submissions Call-out: Applications are open to LGBTQIA+ writers for 1-2-1 feedback from FROG Literary Agencylong rectangular green logo for FROG agency

This Spring, Spread the Word is delighted to partner with FROG Literary Agency for our latest 1-2-1 feedback opportunity – offering LGBTQIA+ writers the chance to have an extract from their novel or non-fiction book read and given feedback by a literary agent. Black, Asian or Global Majority writers are particularly invited to submit.

From Friday 3 May, we’ll be accepting submissions of literary fiction, commercial fiction including historical, crime and thriller fiction, romance fiction and non-fiction for a maximum of 4 short feedback sessions from Andrew James, literary agent and founder of FROG Literary Agency.

Andrew is offering to provide short feedback sessions by phone or video call on up to 4 submissions from LGBTQIA+ writers from underrepresented backgrounds based in the UK.

He is looking for: stories with a trans protagonist across literary, commercial and romance; historical fiction with queer characters; stories about the impact of Section 28; stories that explore the complexity of gay lives that are not solely focussed on sex or AIDS; queer romance; experimental and inventive literary fiction; anything that takes an existing heteronormative trope/genre/story and queers it up.

In non-fiction, he is specifically looking for: narrative non-fiction; books by and for asexual, demisexual and pansexual people; ideas on the future of LGBTQIA+ rights/identities; lesbian memoir and anthologies; and hard-hitting books about gender identity.

You’re eligible to apply if you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community* based in the UK, are un-agented and unpublished, and also from one or more backgrounds underrepresented in publishing.

We define this as such if you:

*LGBTQIA+ community: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and other self-identifications under the umbrella of sexuality and/or gender.

The purpose of the feedback session is to receive advice and support on the documents you have submitted. At the discretion of the agent participating, it may lead to further discussion of your work or requests as per standard agenting processes.

Want to hear more about this opportunity? We asked Andrew to tell us more about FROG Literary Agency, what kind of submissions he’s looking for, and what advice he’d give to writers submitting to this opportunity. Check out the video below:

How to apply  

You can apply for this opportunity via our Submittable page. Only one entry per applicant will be accepted.

The link to apply is here. This opportunity will open to submissions at midday on Friday 3 May.

To apply, you will need to upload 3 documents:

If you are a disabled writer, there is the option to submit visual or audio submissions. Please get in touch (email address below) if you need any support with this.

Andrew will be giving feedback on the documents that you submit.

Please note that we are not accepting submissions of science-fiction, fantasy, Young Adult, or poetry.


If you have any queries about your application or this opportunity, please get in touch with [email protected] and [email protected]

About Andrew James

Andrew James is a Literary Agent at Frog Literary Agency – an agency solely dedicated to LGBTQIA+ writers – which he founded in 2023. He was formerly Editorial Director at Jessica Kingsley Publishers where he established their market-leading LGBTQIA+ list and he is a former co-Chair of the Hachette Pride Employee Network. ​In 2018, Andrew was selected as a Rising Star by The Bookseller and he has worked in publishing for over a decade.


Published: 3 May 2024

class="post-65545 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities"Two free BSL interpreted workshops for London writers on crafting your application for Arts Council England fundingScrabble tiles spelling out funding

Spread the Word is pleased that our popular free online workshops all about applying for Arts Council England funding are back and open for bookings. The workshops cover two Arts Council England funding streams; Developing Your Creative Practice (DYCP) and National Lottery Project Grants (NLPG). The workshops take place online and are free to attend. The sessions are tailored to writers in London and are not open to artists working only in other art forms, or writers not living in London. Each workshop will be BSL interpreted.

These workshops will:

Led by Ruth Harrison, director of Spread the Word, and freelance literature producer Tom MacAndrew, the workshops will talk you through the different questions in the application forms to help you think about how you can respond to them. They’ll give examples of what sort of projects have previously been funded and how Spread the Word has supported writers to achieve funding.

Please read through all the Arts Council’s  or  guidance beforehand, so that you are reasonably sure that what you have in mind is suitable for the relevant funding stream.

We want to make sure that the funding sessions are open to as many people as possible. Due to the limited number of places available for the DYCP and NLPG workshops, please only sign up for the session which is most suitable for the project you are planning. We will be running both sessions again in Autumn 2024. The workshops will not be recorded.


We anticipate that demand will be high for these workshops so please only book a place if you are committed to attending. They are open to writers of any literary form including playwriting and graphic novels. Please note, these sessions are specifically tailored to writers in London, and are not open to artists working in other media or writers living outside London.

More information and book now 

National Lottery Project Grants application workshop Monday 3 June 2024, 7 – 9pm, BSL interpreted. There will be a break during the workshop. Book here: 

Developing Your Creative Practice workshop Monday 10 June 2024, 7 – 8.30pm, BSL interpreted. Book here:

Published: 9 April 2024

class="post-65504 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities"The Basics Course is open for booking!Composite image of five rectangular photos of writers. L to R: Pam Williams, Cecile Pin, Han Smith, Santanu Bhattacharya, Ana Fletcher.

Spread the Word is thrilled to launch The Basics Course, a brand-new series of free online workshops for writers who have just started or are planning to write a full-length fiction novel.

The Basics is a course designed for early-stage writers looking to make their first steps to write a novel. Spread over five weeks, the course will be run by four award-winning debut novelists and an experienced editor. Each session will run on Zoom and will standalone so you don’t need to sign up to each one to take part. They will also be recorded so you can catch up. 

This course will take you through the basics of putting together a full-length fiction novel, from developing your ideas, to editing your draft – there’s something for every writer looking to make a start on their novel.

The Basics Course dates and writers

A close-up photo of Pam Williams, a black woman with long black and grey dread locks. She looks at the camera. She wears big black glasses and a black collared shirt.Developing Characters with Pam Williams

Thursday 23 May, 6.30pm-8.30pm

More info and book here:

Image of Cecile Pin, a woman who smiles and sits relaxed with her hand rested on her crossed leg. She wears a white shirt and blue jeans. She has dark hair pulled up in a ponytail.Developing an Idea with Cecile Pin

Wednesday 29 May, 6.30pm-8.30pm

More info and book here:

An image of Han Smith, a white person sitting on some steps outside. She smiles, with crossed arms resting on her lap. She wears a black long sleeved top and dark blue jeans. She has short brown hair and glasses.Plot and Structure with Han Smith 

Wednesday 5 June, 6.30pm-8.30pm

More info and book here:

An image of Santanu, sitting down and facing the camera. Santanu is a light-skinned brown man with short dark hair, who wears glasses. He has a dark grey blazer and a white t-shirt beneath, and wears blue jeans. Behind him are bookshelves.Voice with Santanu Bhattacharya 

Wednesday 12 June, 6.30pm-8.30pm

More info and book here:

An image of Ana Fletcher, stood outside in a garden. She smiles, with one hand in her pocket. She is a white woman with short, shoulder-length hair brown hair. She wears a black t-shirt and black trousers.Self-Editing with Ana Fletcher

Wednesday 19 June, 6.30pm-8.30pm

More info and book here:


If you have any questions relating to access or access requests, please contact the team on [email protected] and we will work to meet your access needs.

Published: 9 April 2024

class="post-64955 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news"Read the 2024 Nature Nurtures Anthology & Watch the Nature Nurtures Short Filmstwo people looking up at the sky in a forest. One wears an orange headscarf and the other is pointing upwards

Watch the Nature Nurtures Short Films created by young people who took part on the project:

Nature Nurtures is a two-year project led by London Wildlife Trust in partnership with us at Spread the Word, Black Girls Hike CIC and London Youth. Since summer 2022, the project has offered lots of free creative and conservation opportunities for young people aged 16 – 25 in London, led by leading & award-winning writers and artists.

As part of the project, young people worked with filmmaker Mmloki Chrystie to create short film poems across different natural spaces and reserves in London, featuring some of their writing. Young people were also invited to contribute writing, photography and other creative expressions inspired by their experiences in nature and the wildlife of London to the 2024 Nature Nurtures anthology.

Closing this chapter of the Nature Nurtures project, the film poems and anthology celebrate the voices of creative young people in London and shines a dazzling light on their perspectives on the natural world. We hope you enjoy them.

Nature Nurtures is supported by funds awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, via the Volunteering Futures Fund distributed by Arts Council England.

Image (C) Eleanor Church.

Published: Monday 25 March 2024

class="post-64664 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news tag-121-feedback tag-announcement"Announcing the Winners of the LBA Literary Agency Feedback Opportunity 2024LBA Agency logo - a red background with captial LBA letters.

In September 2023, we launched a submission feedback opportunity with LBA Literary Agency, which represents a range of bestselling and prizewinning authors of commercial and literary fiction, non-fiction and children’s fiction, to support talented new voices in romance fiction from writers from backgrounds underrepresented in publishing.

We were thrilled to receive a variety of wonderful submissions for this feedback opportunity. We are pleased to announce that the winners are: Alice Sanders, Katty Janneh, Lauryn Mwale, Reema Kausar Majid, and Sheila Padre who received feedback critique from literary agent Hannah Schofield on their projects.

Hannah says: “I’ve been an admirer of the work of Spread the Word for years, and as a Lewisham resident myself I feel passionate about local outreach, so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to partner with StW on our romance session and submission call-out. The team were wonderful in facilitating all the events, and having worked more closely with them, I am even more impressed with their commitment to widening access to publishing to people from all walks of life.

My client Anam Iqbal and I were able to demystify the submission process to agents and editors in our live session, and we both so enjoyed the questions and insights from the audience. I was also hugely impressed at the quality and diversity of the submissions we received during the call-out, which represented love stories of all types: queer, straight, historical, contemporary, tropey, and sweeping! It was truly hard to pick the finalists, but I hope that I was able to encourage the authors I spoke to in their writing journeys and empower them to keep going – the world needs their stories.”

Find out more about the selected writers and their work below…

Image of Alice Sanders, a white woman with shoulder length strawberry blonde hair. She wears a cream coat with a fur lining with a black turtleneck beneath. She puts her hands in her pockets and stands against a red brick wall. Alice Sanders is a writer and comedy performer. Originally from London, she now lives in the Scottish Highlands where there is more nature, but, sadly, less Vietnamese food. She has written for various media outlets including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and Vice. She enjoys writing humour pieces, such as ‘Dick Portraiture for Renaissance Gentlemen’, published by McSweeney’s. She also writes audio description for TV programmes and films such as ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Up’. An erstwhile member of various comedy improv teams across London, as well as writing sketches and bad poetry for the character she performs, Sebastian Frond. Sebastian Frond, however, thinks he is a very talented poet.

About Alice’s fiction project: Playing for the Other Team is a novel about, well, playing for the other team – ever thought of giving it a go? Fran has, so she joins a lesbian football team with the (not-so) secret agenda of sleeping with a woman. And finding love, of course. After her initiation into the Sapphic arts, Fran is drawn towards a romance that could blow the football team apart. She’s faced with a tough decision: will she choose the path of virtue or the path of excitement? Like a queer sliding doors, the timelines diverging from her decision, it explores sexuality, agency, and how the small choices you make add up to more than the sum of their parts.

Alice says: “The feedback from Hannah was invaluable. Having her expert eye on my manuscript without the significant costs of an editor was so helpful. She gave me several points to work on during the next edit of my book in order to improve it. She named some novels I could look at that were excellent examples of things I’m trying to do with my book. I’m grateful to have received her advice and I think my new draft has already improved because of her comments!

Instagram and Twitter/ X: @wernerspenguin

a black person smiling and looking into the distance. The sea is behind them. They have big glasses and wear a white tank top.

Katty Janneh is a writer based in South East London. After spending too long ‘should-ing’ in her life, Katty started writing again just as the pandemonium kicked in. She wants to craft stories that centre women like her: older, dark-skinned women who find love later in life with her brand of humour and joy that she strives to live by.

About Katty’s project: Amina, get an Attitude is Katty’s first novel. A romance set in the present day between the UK and The Gambia. Amina is a late bloomer who experiences a horrible betrayal. As she tries to rebuild her relationship, a spanner hits the works leaving her with a dilemma. Does she continue to keep the peace by pleasing others or will she finally start pleasing herself?

Katty says: “The experience was nerve wracking but so, so valuable. It gave me a reality check on what is needed to bring Amina’s story to life. Teasing out the magic so people can feel it when they read the words. I’m excited to see how the story will end.”

Instagram: @kattyjanneh

a close-up headshot of a black woman smiling at the camera. She has long dark hair in a ponytail. She wears a lilac square-neck top and earrings. Behind her is a white wall. Lauryn Mwale has always been a reader, flying through countless Nancy Drew adventures and Enid Blyton series, devouring classic literature to prove a point and learn about the history of storytelling. She has always hoped to be brave enough to write and her very kind English teachers encouraged this dream. In 2022, she published a non-fiction book, The Shuri Effect: Bridging the gap for Young Black Women in STEM. It was inspired by her experiences studying Mathematics at university, where she was often the only or , if she was lucky, one of three Black students in her classes. The book was an outlet for her feelings of frustration and anguish as well as an opportunity to platform and celebrate the Black women that came before her. Currently, she is working on her first full-length fiction novel, Low-key Losing It. The Work-in-Progress was shortlisted for the 2023 Merky Books New Writers Prize and Bloomsbury Book Mentorship as well as the LBA x Spread the Work feedback opportunity. 

About Lauryn’s project: Lowkey Losing It, opens in present day London with our protagonist, Sondi, fantasising about a stranger she’s eyeing on the bus. Sondi is not one to allow life to happen to her so when he drops his phone on the seat, she accepts this gift from the universe and rushes out to return it to him, hoping that her gallantry will be the beginning of a beautiful love story. Unfortunately, the universe was merely playing with her. Caller ID alerts her that this man is, in fact, very much not available and in a panic, she dashes off, phone still clasped in hand. Clearly, going-for-it romance-wise is not the answer and so begins her #thatgirl delusional summer. Sondi will be turning her energy inwards; developing a Pilates habit, trying things outside of her comfort zone, getting a new role at work, being more creative and going back to therapy. Above all, she will be ignoring all men, especially her effortlessly charming work bestie Andre. Through therapy, tears and living life for the memoirs, will Sondi learn how to maintain healthy boundaries and welcome surprises, all while appreciating the love that already surrounds her?

Lauryn says: “Hannah was such a massive help! She was generous with her energy and insights and left me filled with ideas about positioning my book when submitting for representation. We discussed genre and comparables, the energy of my opening scene and the hacks for writing the perfect elevator pitch. I’ve already applied her advice and received some interest for representation.”

an olive-skinned woman smiles at the camera. She wears a loose cream headscarf. Reema Kausar Majid holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa and is a FAB Prize 2023 Highly Commended winner. She has been published in Amaliah under a pseudonym, is an alumna of the RCW summer workshop 2023 and is a member of Megaphone.

About Reema’s project: The Lonely Road is set in pre-partition 1940’s India and follows beautiful and headstrong Wafaa as she joins the independence movement while fending off marriage proposals. A family tragedy leads her to Ibrahim, a celebrated freedom fighter, with whom she falls in love. As colonial rule crumbles so does their marriage. Pulled apart by their opposing political visions and Wafaa’s desperation for a child, they must choose between love and loyalty.

Reema says: “The feedback I received from Hannah was invaluable in terms of industry insight and the guidance she offered on pitching effectively. From changing my novel’s title, to reducing the word count, revising the query letter and answering my questions, the whole session was incredibly useful. Having an award winning agent compliment my writing style has been a huge boost and propelled me to keep revising. Huge thanks to Spread the Word, the LBA Literary Agency and Hannah for this opportunity!”

Instagram: @reemakausar01

A close-up image of a black woman who smiles at the camera. She has medium length dark brown hair. She wears a blue denim jacket and a light brown shoulder bag. Behind Sheila is a grey tiled wall. Sheila Padre is based in South London. She worked in digital marketing before deciding to take the plunge, do a Creative Writing MA and resume working on her first novel. She has a BA in International Relations and Politics and an MA from Cardiff University and Royal Holloway, respectively. Her literary work tends to explore emotional trauma in character-driven narratives and examine the human condition in times of turmoil. When she’s not writing, she’s re-watching Gilmore Girls, curled up with a glass of wine and her Westie, Penny.

About Sheila’s project Purple-Lipped Bookworm: Marlowe Balbuena is the most cynical, angry 25-year-old you’ll ever encounter, but grief has a way of undoing everyone. In the past, Marlowe’s adolescence in a Southwest London council estate is a playground of innocence and friendship that grows bleaker with the commonplace hyper-sexualisation of young women and loving a broken boy who can’t love her back. She grows depressed, and her coping mechanisms grow reckless. In the present, 25-year-old Marlowe has just lost her surrogate grandmother but refuses to attend the funeral. Greif-stricken, she meets Jude—a charming paramedic, at a housewarming, but she’s still harbouring severe trust issues from the last time she was in love. Still, she comes to learn the gift of art and literature as a medium of self-expression that can help ease the turmoil of depression and trauma.

Sheila says: “Hannah Schofield was absolutely lovely and provided invaluable guidance regarding what worked well and areas of improvement, not only for my writing but also for the synopsis and query letter. She answered all my questions thoughtfully and suggested where I should position my novel within the market, which sounds simple, but in the thick of writing, it is tricky to zoom out and select authors to cite as comps to better signpost your work in such a vast and varied market. The feedback reinvigorated my determination to keep writing and finish my first novel!”

Instagram: Sheila_padre

Spread the Word will open for its next 1-2-1 feedback opportunity in May 2024.

Published: 22 March 2024