C&W and Spread the Word launch Case Closed – A new partnership to find diverse new crime, thriller and mystery fiction Writers 


Spread the Word is delighted to announce a new programme with C&W literary agency to find and develop new crime, thriller and mystery fiction writers from diverse backgrounds. 

The eight-month programme, Case Closed, aims to demystify the process of writing a crime, thriller and mystery novels and support more writers from backgrounds underrepresented in publishing to write genre fiction with the goal of them going on to be represented and published.  

Case Closed launched on Thursday 27 April 2023 with a recorded Q&A with Tracey Lien, author of All That’s Left Unsaid, agent Emma Finn and publishing director Leodora Darlington and a survey out to writers to better understand the barriers to writing genre fiction and what ongoing support the agencies can offer to encourage more writers to write a crime, thriller or mystery fiction novel. 

Tracey Lien, author of All That’s Left Unsaid, says: “Genre fiction can be an incredible vehicle for powerful, moving, and entertaining stories, and I’m glad that Spread the Word and C&W are demystifying the publishing process for crime/thriller/mystery novels. I would have loved this kind of resource when I was starting out!” 

A free ‘Getting Started as a Crime, Thriller and Mystery Fiction Writer’ guide will be made available alongside free online craft and career workshops open to all running from May to September 2023. Fiona Cummins, author of the DC Saul Anguish series, will write the guide, which will include exercises on idea generation, definitions and examples for each genre, and tips on research and submitting to agents. Cummins will also run the first workshop in May.  Olivia Kiernan, author of the Frankie Sheehan series, will run a workshop on plot and structure, and Elliot Sweeney, London Writers Awards alumni and author of The Next to Die, will run a workshop on developing characters. In September two agents from C&W will run a seminar on submissions with an audience Q&A. 

From July 2023, UK-based disabled, working class, LGBTQIA+ and Black, Asian and Global Majority writers will be able to submit their work to the first chapter competition. The first prize includes a one-to-one meeting with Tracey Lien, meetings with agents rom C&W and professional development with Spread the Word. Four highly commended placed writers will also receive one-to-one meetings with the two agencies.  

Emma Finn, agent at C&W, says: “I’ve always admired the work that Spread the Word do and we at C&W are so happy to be able to collaborate on this programme to help encourage and support writers taking their first steps in crime, thriller or mystery writing. These genres are fantastically popular but crying out for new perspectives, and the aim with this initiative is to strip away some of the jargon around what agents and publishers are looking for, to offer resources and myth-busting to support writer development, and to find the voices that will shape the future of fiction in this area of the market.” 

Bobby Nayyar, programme manager at Spread the Word, says: “We are delighted to be working with C&W and a fantastic range of crime writers. For a long time we’ve been keen to develop a new project to support those who have aspirations of being a genre fiction author. We’re excited to see what new writing comes out of it.” 

For more information about the project please visit: spreadtheword.org.uk/projects/case-closed/

Published 27 April 2023