Apply for the London Writers Awards 2019


Spread the Word is pleased to open applications for the London Writers Awards 2019. The London Writers Awards is Spread the Word’s annual writer development programme for London-based unpublished prose writers from backgrounds currently under-represented in publishing.

The 2019 Awards will be judged by author judges:  Abir MukherjeeSaeida RouassKate DaviesDanielle Jawando and Derek Owusu.  The industry judges are: Elise Dillsworth (independent literary agent),  Emma Finn (literary agent at Conville and Walsh) Katie Brown (commissioning editor for fiction at Trapeze, an Orion Publishing Group imprint), Philippa Milnes-Smith (managing director and agent for children’s and YA, The Soho Agency) and Rupert Lancaster (non-fiction publisher at Hodder & Stoughton).  

What is the London Writers Awards? 

The London Writers Awards is an intensive writer development programme that takes place over 9 months; September 2019 – May 2020. The programme is a partnership between you and Spread the Word. There are deadlines, pressures and lots of reward. 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.

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

Who is it for? 

The programme is for unpublished London-based prose writers who are writing in any of the following genres:

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

The programme has been designed to support unpublished writers who are working on a writing project; a work-in-progress that you can develop in the structure of the Awards. By unpublished, we mean writers who do not currently have a literary agent nor a publishing contract for a full-length work, nor have you previously published a full-length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

What are the aims of the London Writers Awards? 

The London Writers Awards aim to increase the number of London writers from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in publishing to be agented, published and placed in literary prizes.

Before you apply, please read: 

You might like to read: 

What you will need to apply:

There is a form to complete, which includes details about yourself, your writing life and eligibility. You will also need to enter a synopsis about the project you’d like to develop as part of the programme, and upload a sample of your writing ideally from the project as well (3,000 words maximum). There is also a section to complete if you wish to apply for a bursary and/or access fund.

Want to apply?

We would love to see your application. We ask that you apply via Submittable for the genre you are writing in.

Commercial Fiction Application Form:

YA / Children’s Fiction Application Form: 

Literary Fiction Application Form:

Narrative Non-Fiction Application Form:

If you would prefer to apply by post, you can download an application form here:  London Writers Awards 2019 – Postal Entry Form

Applications are open from 1 May and close at 11.59pm (i.e., a minute before midnight of 1 June 2019) on Friday 31 May 2019.

If you would prefer to apply via another format, please contact us and we will do what we can to support you.

What happens after I apply?

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 recommendations for the London Writers Awards judges and the Spread the Word team. A shortlist of applicants will be invited to an interview with the Spread the Word team on one of the following dates: 30 July, 31 July or 1 August 2019. Spread the Word will contact everyone who submits an application.

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]

Published 1 May 2019