Applications are open for the London Writers Awards 2021


The London Writers Awards is Spread the Word’s annual writer development programme for London-based unpublished prose writers from backgrounds currently under-represented in publishing. 

Running from January 2021 – October 2021. the London Writers Awards programme is a partnership between you and Spread the Word. There are deadlines, pressures and lots of rewards. Our goal is for you to complete a step change in your life as a writer, and ultimately find an agent and/or publisher for your work. 

What does it involve?
The Awards is a structured programme that is formed of: 

– 2 Writers Labs
– 9 masterclasses with creative and career focus
– 12 critical feedback groups where you provide and receive feedback with the four other writers in your group
– 1-2-1 support from the Spread the Word team
– Feedback sessions with an agent and/or editor 

Who is it for? 
The programme is for unpublished London-based prose writers who are writing in any of the following genres: 

– Commercial Fiction
– Literary Fiction
– Narrative Non-Fiction
– YA/Children’s Fiction 

The Awards is for writers who identify as being from a background currently underrepresented in publishing. We consider these backgrounds to be: 

– Disabled
– Working class
– Writers of colour*

*Writers of colour: Black, Asian, Arabic, Mixed-Raced and Non-white Latinx  

The programme has been designed to support unpublished writers who are working on a writing project; a work-in-progress that you can develop in the structure of the Awards. By unpublished, we mean writers who do not currently have a literary agent nor a publishing contract for a full-length work, nor have you previously published a full-length work. 

Does it cost money to take part?
Participation in the programme is free. There are bursaries available for writers for whom money may be a barrier to their participation in the programme. There is an Access Fund available for disabled writers currently in receipt of disability allowance to contribute towards additional costs that may be incurred for you to participate in the Awards. You can read more about the bursaries and access fund in the bursary and access fund document below. 

Before you apply, please read:  

We have also prepared a short video about the London Writers Awards 2021, translated into BSL by Benjamin Alexander Gorman, RSLT. You can watch it below:

How you can apply:
There are three options to apply to the London Writers Awards 2021: 

  1. Online Application Form via Submittable 

  2. Online Application Form for Audio or Video Submissions via Submittable 

  3. Paper Form for Postal Entry (large print) 

For Option 1, we ask that you apply via Submittable for the genre you are writing in: 

Commercial Fiction Application Form

Literary Fiction Application Form

Narrative Non-Fiction Application Form

YA/Children’s Fiction Application Form

For Option 2, there is one form on Submittable, where you choose the genre group:

For Option 3, you can download an application form here. 

London Writers Awards 2021 – Postal Entry Form
London Writers Awards 2021 – Postal Entry Form (Large Print)

Please post your entry to: Spread the Word, The Albany, Douglas Way, SE8 4AG and do ensure that you send it to us before the deadline date.

Applications are open from Monday 17 August 2020 and close at 11.59pm  on Wednesday 30 September 2020. Late entries will not be considered. 

After you apply for the London Writers Awards, you will receive an automatic email confirming receipt of your programme. 

Your application will be read anonymously by a team of first readers who will make recommendations to the London Writers Awards judges and the Spread the Word team.

The 2021 Awards will be judged by author judges: Michael Donkor, Season Butler, Ayisha Malik, Luke Turner and Samantha Baines.  The industry judges areEllah P. Wakatama  OBELudo CinelliKatherine ArmstrongAngelique Tran Van Sang and Lauren Gardner.  You can find out more about them below: 

A shortlist of applicants will be invited to an interview with the Spread the Word team on one of the following dates: 1-3 December.  Spread the Word will contact everyone who submits an application by 24 November. 

Want to get in touch?
If you have read all of our supporting documents and links and you still have a question about the London Writers Awards that isn’t answered in them, please contact [email protected].

Initiatives like the London Writers Awards are essential to the evolution of the literary world. For writers from underserved communities and marginalised identities, and readers wishing to encounter the full richness of the world in literature, we all have something to win through this Award.” Season Butler, author, 2021 Judge

When I started the Awards I did not feel like a writer, would never have called myself a writer and didn’t think my stories were needed or valued. I don’t think that anymore! I call myself a writer, I feel confident in what I have to contribute creatively and that my stories have a place in society.Denise Rawls, 2020 Awardee 


Published 17 August 2020
Updated 11 November 2020