Back in September we launched the London Writers Awards, a nine month long craft and career development programme for writers of commercial fiction, literary fiction, poetry, narrative non fiction, and young adults and children’s fiction. We’re now three months in, and the group have been learning and developing through critical feedback groups, WritersLabs and masterclasses.
But what have they learned?
Here’s their thoughts…
Stephen Wrench, Narrative Non Fiction
‘I have enjoyed getting to know the other writers in my genre group, hearing their fascinating stories and sharing experiences. Everyone is so generous and committed to help each other be better. It is so sustaining to feel part of a tribe, to recognise common struggles and celebrate the good stuff. I leave every feedback meeting buzzing with energy and ideas. The rhythm of the regular meetings has encouraged me to ramp up my writing pace, find opportunities to write more, create new and productive habits. I still feel like I’ve got a long way to go, but with more words under my belt every week I am running rather than stumbling.’
Alexis Rigg, Young Adult/Children’s
‘The London Writers’ Awards have been an incredible experience so far. Being a part of a group of people with the same interests and aspirations as me has been invaluable and I receive feedback I wouldn’t have been able to get without Spread the Word. Above all, it’s inspired me to get back into the habit of writing!’
Gavino di Vino, Narrative Non Fiction
‘Although I have been reading and writing since my first years at primary school, being a writer always felt like something other, more capable people did. But I’m sure that’s how many new writers feel! By working closely with other published writers, it’s clear that any insecurities I have are shared by almost everybody, which gave me the permission to concentrate on the most important thing: the work. I’ve learnt how to take on constructive criticism to my best advantage and begin to write with a more critical eye. I’m aware that although I’m only at the very beginning, my passion and excitement to learn can only take me further into a fulfilling career.’
Koyer Ahmed, Literary Fiction
‘Being part of the London Writers Award has so far been a thrilling experience. I have learned more about my writing through the writers feedback classes in the last three months than any other points of my writing career. Its so exciting to be part of such a diverse group of individual writers who bring with them a set of their own experiences and the way in which we get to discuss this within our feedback. The support and opportunity from Spread the Word is nothing short of great and its a great privilege to be an award winner.’
Tice Cin, Literary Fiction
‘Since I joined LWA back in September, my respect and love for writing has grown so much more. Being around people who also want to make a career out of this programme, while juggling such beautiful and hectic lives continues to inspire me. Especially being around world class writers who write for a living like Jarred McGinnis and Romesh Gunesekera.
I am finally starting to kill off a particularly bad bout of Imposter Syndrome, I’ve wrestled it into a cupboard somewhere and I really think I can do this now. A big thing when working on a creative project any kind is to look at how you measure its success and to see the joy in its parts. Rather than thinking of my incomplete manuscript as a mangled mess, I now see it’s a stone that I have to keep polishing and that there are people who my work means something to. There’s always room to improve, and the learning doesn’t stop, but you can both arrive and be on your way at the same time.’
Nina Dutteroy, Commercial Fiction
Being a LWA Awardee has been a positive experience. The last few months have helped me focus on my writing and encouraged me to believe I can be a published author. The writers in my feedback group are supportive and have given me invaluable insight into my work. The Spread the Word team have also provided ongoing support and encouragement.