Early Career Bursaries open for applications


Are you on a low income struggling to make ends meet AND progress your creative work?

Thanks to a very generous donation from Sam and Rosie Berwick, Spread the Word run the Early Career Bursaries programme to provide three unagented and unpublished prose writers with 12 months of financial and professional support to develop creative work. You can apply if you are a London-based writer on a low income and have a literary, commercial or young adult fiction or narrative non-fiction project you want to develop.

We know that time is of the essence when it comes to creativity. So, alongside time and space to write, we will create with you a package of support such as mentoring, writing retreats, writer networks and professional one to ones to enable you to carry out your creative work and build your writing career.

This is very much an open brief programme. Your writing project can be something new and at an early development stage, or much more advanced –where you need time and space to crack through it and complete. But there will be no expectation that you ‘finish’ a piece.  You will bring determination and a clear sense of how you will use the year ahead of you to realise your creative ideas.

The Bursaries are worth £15,000 to each writer; £10,000 cash and £5,000 towards development opportunities. An access fund is in place to support any needs you may have. The Bursary programme will run from February 2023 to January 2024.

The Bursary programme is open to writers aged 18+ and living in London who are on low-incomes, earning London Living Wage or less, or in receipt of benefits and with limited recourse to personal funds, including savings.

We particularly welcome applications from writers from the following communities which are underrepresented in publishing, including: Black, Asian and Global Majority, working class or of working class background, LGBTQ, refugee, care experienced and deaf and disabled writers.

The Early Career Bursaries for London Writers 2024 will be judged by Patrice Lawrence, Monique Roffey and Santanu Bhattacharya.

What you need to know before applying 

Please read the following before applying. These are all .docx downloads. There is information in BSL and audio on this page here: spreadtheword.org.uk/early-career-bursaries-for-london-writers-resources-in-bsl-and-audio/

  1. Eligibility Criteria: spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Early-Career-Bursaries-Eligibility-Criteria-2024.docx

  2. Terms and Conditions: spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Early-Career-Bursaries-Terms-and-Conditions-2024.docx

  3.  FAQs: spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Early-Career-Bursaries-2024-FAQs.docx

  4. Application form for drafting / making notes: spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Early-Career-Bursaries-2024-Entry-Form-for-drafting.docx

Attend a free online seminar about the programme 

We will be running a free online information session about the Bursary programme on Tuesday 25 July, 7pm-8pm for writers who are considering applying. The session will be BSL interpreted. You can sign up through this Eventbrite link: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/early-career-bursaries-for-london-writers-information-evening-tickets-672082124727  

How To Apply 

You can apply online via Submittable from 12pm (midday) on Wednesday 12 July until Monday 25 September 2023 12pm (midday): spreadtheword.submittable.com/submit/266167/early-career-bursaries-for-london-writers-2024

Or you can apply by post by downloading this application form (.docx download): spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Early-Career-Bursaries-2024-Postal-Entry-Form.docx

Published Wednesday 12 July 2023

Updated Monday 4 September 2023