class="post-64283 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news"Recipients of the Early Career Bursaries 2024 AnnouncedA composite image made of three photos. On the left, a person sitting down with long hair, dark brown at the roots and lighter brown at the ends. They are dressed smartly and smiling. On the right, a person sitting down with shoulder length dark hair. They are wearing black rimmed glasses and a top with small flowers in red, brown and white. In the middle, a person stands with their hands in their pockets. They have dark blond hair that reaches just past their shoulders. They are dresed in all black and smiling confidently at the camera. All three are positioned in front of the same bookcase.

“Judging the Early Career Bursary this year was a huge honour and also very exciting. The standard of the work was off the scale, which made the process bittersweet. Sweet in that almost all the reading was very very pleasurable, and bitter in that it was so very hard to choose our winners. This is an excellent prize and opportunity for any emerging writer and our winners are a stellar cohort. This has been a privilege.” Monique Roffey, Judge for the 2024 programme

Spread the Word, London’s literature development agency, is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2024 Early Career Bursaries for London Writers. They are narrative non-fiction writers A. D. Aaba Atach and Vic Eveline, and short story writer Sarah Cotton. Each writer is awarded a bursary of £15,000, with £10,000 being awarded as cash and £5,000 towards talent development, including mentoring. 

The Early Career Bursaries for London Writers aim to make a significant difference to writers’ development of their craft and support career progression with no expectation of a defined output. The annual Bursary programme is for unagented and unpublished writers who are on a low income. 

The need for early career writers to receive support is stark. Unlike other artistic professions there is no defined career pathway for writers. It is particularly true for writers whose voices are underrepresented in the UK’s publishing industry who do not have the networks and connections to support them to take their first steps as a writer.  

Developing her creative non-fiction project How Dare a Woman, A. D. Aaba Atach says: “In the pursuit of an inclusive publishing industry, few organisations actually champion writers on a low income by recognising our talent and contributions to the literary world. Being awarded the Early Career Bursary is not merely a privilege; it’s a sanctuary that nurtures the literary potential of those whose stories were often borrowed and written by others more fortunate. I am immensely grateful to have been given this opportunity to join a supportive community of writers in London and develop my craft to its fullest extent.”

Developing her untitled narrative non-fiction project, Vic Eveline says: “I feel immensely grateful to have been given this amazing opportunity to accelerate my development as a writer. The support of Spread the Word and the Early Career Bursary will allow me to put my writing front and centre of my life and really focus on getting the words out and taking my writing to the next level — something I am all too aware is an unaffordable luxury for so many writers.  It’s a big step forward for me and I’m both nervous and excited to see what the year will bring.”  

Developing her collection of short stories entitled Between the Walls, Sarah Cotton says: “It’s incredibly encouraging to be chosen for this bursary. The generous financial component will relieve pressure and allow me to focus on my writing while the tailored support will motivate me to progress and guide me to develop and sustain a creative practice. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to participating in the programme.”

The Bursaries are made possible by a generous philanthropic gift from Sam and Rosie Berwick, who won the 2022 Achates Prize for Individual Philanthropy for the programme. The 2024 judges were Monique Roffey, Patrice Lawrence and Santanu Bhattacharya.

Sam and Rosie Berwick, donors, say: “Writing and the reading of that writing are critical to who we all are and will become.  Both of us are thrilled with how the first year of the bursary programme has evolved and are both unreservedly looking forward to working with the amazing Spread the Word and more exceptional writers over the next twelve months.”

Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word, says: “We are delighted to continue the Early Career Bursaries for London Writers and support these three talented writers. It comes at a time when the cost of living crisis continues to impact on writers’ ability to create the time and space to develop their work and make a career as an author. It’s more clear now than ever that we’re at risk of losing a generation of talent. We thank Sam and Rosie Berwick for their continued support in funding the programme.” 

Spread the Word and Sam and Rosie Berwick welcome a wider conversation with the publishing industry, philanthropists and funders on the need for philanthropic support for writers and equitable and accessible early career interventions to address the systemic barriers faced by writers on a low income in creating work and progressing a creative career.

The 2025 Early Career Bursaries programme will open for submissions in August 2024.

Published: 21 February 2024

class="post-64301 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities"Work with us: Programme Manager and Communications ManagerTwo female performers with the audience standing in a semi circle before them, they are all lit by a blue light.

Spread the Word, London’s literature development agency, is recruiting for two part-time roles: a Programme Manager – Community Engagement and a Communications and Impact Manager.

We are an arts charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Founded in 1995 by novelist Bernardine Evaristo MBE and Ruth Borthwick (who went on to be Director of Arvon), we work to support, develop and advocate for London’s writers and to develop a thriving and diverse literature scene in London. 

We create opportunities for storytellers, creatives and readers to change the conversations we have and reimagine the world we live in by: running inclusive creative writing programmes; offering practical ways for writers to get their work into the world; discovering Londoners who love words; and nurturing those who want to write, read and share stories.

Programme Manager

As the Programme Manager, you will lead on our Community Engagement initiatives; growing our place-based community work in Lewisham to deliver on our ambition to have Lewisham named the UK’s first Borough of Literature. This is a 12-month role with the opportunity to be made permanent. The role is part-time, 3 days a week, with a salary of £22,800 pro rata (full time equivalent: £38,000).

Job description and person specification (PDF)

Job description and person specification (Word document)

Communications and Impact Manager

As the Communications and Impact Manager, you will play a pivotal role in enhancing Spread the Word’s visibility, engagement, and overall impact. This is a permanent role. The role is part-time, 4 days a week, with a salary of £30,400 pro rata (full time equivalent: £38,000).

Job description and person specification (PDF)

Job description and person specification (Word document)

Working with Spread the Word

Both roles are based at Spread the Word’s offices at the Albany in Deptford, London. We offer hybrid working – we currently work two/ three days at the office and the rest at home.

We’re looking for passionate and experienced people who are empathetic, curious, imaginative, and interested in cultural democracy, community agency and activism. You will be able to demonstrate good practice and commitment to accessibility, equality, and inclusion, as well as a passion for engaging people with words and stories.

Online information session 

If you are interested in applying for either of the roles and would like to find out more, Co-Chairs Aimée Felone and Simon Richardson, and Director Ruth Harrison, will be holding an online information session on Wednesday 21 February, 7pm-8pm

The session will be BSL interpreted and have closed captions. 

Sign up to the session by Tuesday 20 February. The Zoom link for the session will be sent out on Wednesday 21 February. Participation in the session will have no bearing on your application. 

Key dates


The interview panel for the Programme Manager – Community Engagement role is: Trustees Sam Dodd and Sherifa Ibitola and Director Ruth Harrison.

The interview panel for the Communications and Impact Manager role is: Co-Chairs Aimée Felone and Simon Richardson and Director Ruth Harrison.

Both the first and second interviews will take place in person at Spread the Word’s office at the Albany, Douglas Way, London SE8 4AG. Travel expenses will be paid and reasonable adjustments will be made for applicants invited to interview.

How to apply

Please apply for either role by attaching the following files to the online application form (link below): 

We particularly welcome applications from people who are currently underrepresented in the literature and publishing industries. If you rarely see people like yourself in the arts, for any reason, we particularly encourage you to apply.

Apply for either role using our online application form.

Please note: You can preview the form and see all questions by following the link. Please only fill the form in once you have everything ready as it is not possible to save a draft and come back to it later.

Deadline for applications: 10am, Monday 18 March. No late applications will be considered.


If you are having any issues in making your application, please contact Emily Ajgan: [email protected] 

Photo: Deptford Literature Festival 2022, RAP party, by Kashif Haque

class="post-64235 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news"Access at Deptford Literature FestivalImage of a man wearing a yellow Deptford Literature Festival t-shirt sat at a help desk smiling at two people.

We prioritise accessibility. We want to make sure that as many people from Deptford, Lewisham and beyond can access as much of the festival as possible. 

Information about the event in BSL

Information about the event in Audio

spreadthewordwriters · Deptford Literature Festival 2024 Promo

Access at the Festival

We want to let you know that:

Keeping you safe is our priority. We continue to encourage anyone displaying Covid-like symptoms not to attend the Festival and attendees aged 16 and over to consider wearing masks, except those who are exempt, to protect some of our vulnerable artists and audience members.

Masks will be available at the Festival Hub in Deptford Lounge. There will be hand sanitiser and air filters for events and workshops in the following spaces at Deptford Lounge: Main Hall, Room 1, Room 4 and the Studio.

If you require additional access provision in order to attend or take part in the Festival, for example larger print handouts at workshops, or a scribe, please get in touch before the festival day at: [email protected]

If you require assistance on the festival day itself, please come to the Festival Hub in the foyer of Deptford Lounge where we will be happy to help you.

Getting to the Festival

Travel – Getting to Deptford

Train: Deptford (2 min walk to Deptford Lounge).

Access: lift to both platforms, step-free access

DLR: Deptford Bridge (9 min walk to Deptford Lounge)

Access: lift to both platforms, step free access

Train/ overground: New Cross (8 min walk to Deptford Lounge)

Access: lift to platforms, ramp for train access, step free access, staff help available

Buses: 47 / 53 / 177 / 188 / 199 / 225 / 253

Bike parking: spaces outside Deptford Lounge and The Albany. For more spaces in Deptford check:

Disabled car parking: Franklin Street car park is the closest to Deptford Lounge with seven disabled bays. The pay-and-display parking bays are 77 steps away from the Lounge.

Taxi drop off point: If you are travelling via taxi, the drop off point is on Giffin Street directly next to Deptford Lounge.

Published: 13 February 2024

Updated: 16 February 2024

class="post-63811 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-news"All Deptford Literature Festival 2024 in-person events are BSL interpreted

In this video, British Sign Language interpreter Michelle Wood shares information about Deptford Literature Festival 2024 in BSL.

All in-person events at the Festival will be BSL interpreted, including four events for children, young people and families.

Tickets are now available for booking, with 33 out of 34 events available to book for free – book your tickets here!

class="post-64126 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-opportunities"CLOSED: Volunteer at Deptford Literature Festival

We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of applications we’ve recieved to volunteer at the festival. What a wonderful local community we have! Unfortunately we can’t accept any more volunteers, but please do come along to the festival – you can find the full programme here

Are you interested in being a part of a large and vibrant literature event? Volunteering at Deptford Literature Festival events offers a fabulous opportunity to immerse yourself in literature for a day.

We’d need volunteers to be available between 9am-6pm on Sat 16 March. You will largely be based at Deptford Lounge, although some events may take place at other locations locally. Duties will include managing ticketing, introducing events, dealing with enquiries, gathering feedback. You will also get to attend and take part in the sessions that you support.

We will hold an online volunteer briefing session on Zoom on Monday 4 March, 7-8pm. We ask all volunteers to attend this if at all possible as it will talk through your schedule for the day, and outline how we’d like you to support visitors.

Volunteers are provided with a Festival T-Shirt, a £30 travel and food stipend, and are offered a free ticket to our opening event soft soft.

class="post-64064 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-creative-writing"Nowhere Near As Safe As a Snake in Bed by Susie Wilson

Susie Wilson’s pamphlet was shortlisted in the Best Unpublished Pamphlet category for the Disabled Poets Prize 2024.

The winners will be announced on 16 March 2024, during Deptford Literature Festival, in an online event.


Susie Wilson from – Nowhere Near As Safe As a Snake in Bed

© Susie Wilson 2024


Banana Circus


Bananas in spangled coconut bras. 

Bananas on horseback on tips of tails,

skins peeled and flipped into striped layer skirts. 

Bananas with teaspoons in skinny hands

teeter across a high wire, balancing. 

Bananas boom out of a shiny canon. 

One banana faking it, with a knife 

stuck through the middle of his fleshy parts.

Somehow, all the bananas are grinning.

All this documented in black and white.


You spent childhood time with these bananas.

You didn’t believe then such things could

be possible, reading the big red book

on your grandparents’ attic floor. But now

you want to believe in impossibles.

Slip on a pair of red tails and top hat,

a curly moustache. Be a banana,

if it would help. Become a banana

ringmaster, cracking your whip to dismiss

big cats, anything with an appetite.