Announcing the 2021 London Writers Awards winners

News

Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency, is delighted to announce the names of the 30 writers who have been selected for the 2021 London Writers Awards. 

Thirty London-based writers from communities currently under-represented in UK publishing – writers of colour and working class, LGBTQIA+ and disabled writers – will be supported and nurtured through a ten-month development programme in preparation for meeting with agents and publishers and pursuing their writing careers. 

They are:

  • Commercial Fiction: Emma Lowther, Megan Preston Elliott, Nilesha Chauvet, Rebecca Lewis, Rosemary Amadi, Tracey Weller. 

  • Literary Fiction:  Anne Elicaño-Shields, Ashani Lewis, Cecile Pin, Eleanor Penny, Gabrielle Johnson, Santanu Bhattacharya, Sharanya Murali, Shereen Akhtar, Sukh Brar, Thomas Newlands, Tommy Rowlands, Victoria Cano. 
  • Narrative Non-Fiction: Carla Montemayor, Elizabeth Chan, Joyia Fitch, Lavendhri Arumugam, Sabrina Mahtani, Sadie Nott. 

  • YA/Children’s Fiction: Ahmed WobiDeshani Shan, Laura Leung-How, Paige Cowan-Hall, Serena Rozana, Remi Oshibanjo.

The 2021 programme will launch on Saturday 23 January, with our first London Writers Awards 2021 Writers’ Lab. Over the course of ten months, the Award recipients will attend fortnightly critical feedback groups to grow and develop their work, participate in nine masterclasses led by writers and industry professionals including authors Jarred McGinnisRowan Hisayo Buchanan and agent Felicity Trew, and receive a variety of bespoke development opportunities with editorsagents and the Spread the Word team. This year, we’ve introduced a clinical psychologist onto the programme to extend support on mental health and well-being. 

The programme will culminate with an industry networking day, where the awardees will be introduced to agents, editors and Spread the Word partners. 

Our London Writers 2021 Awards Judge, Angelique Tran Van Sang commented that: “Spread the Word has been making real and concrete change in an industry that is often reluctant to see the structural inequality at its heart. The London Writers Awards is a forward-thinking, long-term initiative that offers not just encouragement and advice, but also support, championing, knowledge and insight to underrepresented and marginalised voices.”

Rishi Dastidar, Chair of Spread the Word Trustees, says: I’m delighted that, once again, The London Writers Awards are able to showcase a new group of wonderfully talented writers from diverse backgrounds previously under-represented in traditional publishing. The programme remains unique in giving these individuals the chance to develop their skills so they are then ready to launch their professional writing careers. In both fiction and non-fiction genres, it’s a privilege to work with these writers so their stories can be told on the biggest possible stages.” 

Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word said: “Equity and access are at the core of the London Writers Awards programme design. Being free does not make a programme equitable. The Awards are not only free at point of entry but also provide bursaries and an access fund to pay for, for example, travel expenses, laptop, data, scribe or interpreter. This combined with the mental health and self-care offer, one to one support and the alumni network gives each participant a holistic package of support and community to achieve their creative goals, making the Awards unique amongst the many diversity and inclusion initiatives currently taking place.” 

We’re absolutely delighted to have these incredible talented writers as part of our 2021 programme. To keep up to date with their development, visit: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/projects/london-writers-awards/.

The London Writers Awards has already led to a number of successes: 19 of the writers who have completed the programme now have agents, with 8 book deals confirmed including Natasha Brown’s Assembly, which was pre-empted by Hamish Hamilton at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Awards are financially supported by Arts Council England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and sponsored by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society

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