In a series of blogs, we asked former London Writers Awards awardees about their experience being part of the programme. These thoughts maybe particularly useful and interesting if you’re thinking of applying to the London Writers Awards 2022.
What value did the London Writers Awards have on your writing craft and confidence?
Nilesha Chauvet, Commercial Fiction 2021:
“I elevated my game; improving craft skills as a result of the Critical Feedback Group sessions and classes. I realised what kind of writer I am – and how I might better channel my passions and interests in my writing.
I believe I came closer to finding that very elusive thing we call ‘voice’ and I dared myself to experiment more with style.
The quality of teaching was very high: Spread the Word has access to some phenomenal industry talent. The advice I received from Ayisha Malik came at a time when I also needed it the most.
My confidence also soared. The validation of winning an Award can do wonders because it confirms that you are writing something others might also enjoy reading. It’s why we write, to somehow change a little of the world we live in. The speed at which I wrote my novel was surprising, even to me. I finished it within 6 months and began writing the next whilst still on the program.”
Tommy Rowlands, Literary Fiction 2021:
” From the first masterclass (with Jarred McGinnis) I knew I had to up my game, take risks and stop self-censoring my voice. The critical feedback was rigorous, respectful, and an education in itself, while the masterclasses were beyond insightful and never prescriptive. Alongside the teaching, there is the input of the group and this too has been exceptional. To work alongside such a talented bunch of writers writing work that you are hungry to see published and develop friendships with them is remarkable. I am a better writer, a better editor and a better reader. The award is transformative and not a day goes by where I’m not grateful that it exists and I was part of this year’s cohort.”
Emma Lowther, Commercial Fiction 2021:
“The London Writers Awards has helped me feel confident in calling myself a writer. It has strengthened my craft and offered me a great network of other writers and practitioners who I can learn from.”
Thomas Newlands, Literary Fiction 2021:
“The London Writers Awards has been transformative to my practice and my confidence. I have learned so much about the process of writing, both from the tutors and my fellow awardees, and the course has completely demystified the submission process and everything that comes after. I no longer feel silly calling myself a writer!”
Tracey Weller, Commercial Fiction 2021:
“The workshops are really high quality in terms of the people who lead them and the discussions that take place. Being in this type of environment has led me to think more critically about how I write and about how readers interact with texts. It has enabled me to speak more confidently about what and why I write.”
Deshani Shan, Children’s / YA Fiction 2021:
“The London Writers Awards was a major confidence boost and has encouraged me to take my writing more seriously. The path to publication no longer seems shrouded in mystery.”
Megan Preston Elliot, Commercial Fiction 2021:
“The impact that the London Writers Awards has had on my writing and confidence is immeasurable! I feel like a completely different person and writer now compared to when I started. At the beginning, there were a number of barriers getting in the way of writing: imposter syndrome, perfectionism, low confidence. Through the masterclasses, 1:1 support and critical feedback groups, I learned tools to work through these doubts and build confidence. Of course, I still deal with self-doubt from time to time and expect that I will do for the rest of my career, but it is no longer crippling to the point of stopping me from progressing, and I now have tools to help me to move through it. The most invaluable part of the London Writers Awards for me was the critical feedback groups; being connected with five other talented writers at the same stage in their writing career has helped enormously to take my writing to the next level and build resilience. Our group had the opportunity to work with the wonderful Ayisha Malik during the first six sessions and it was incredible to work so closely with a published author in this way. The community at the London Writers Awards is amazing and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”
Sarah Clements, Narrative Non-Fiction 2021:
“It is challenging writing about yourself. There are ethical issues, the feeling of being exposed, the difficulty of excavating your history and your inner life, and wondering how to tell an ‘unstoried’ story. In the narrative nonfiction critical feedback group it has been great to be with others who share these struggles and to learn from each other. All this has improved both my writing and my confidence. And I found winning a London Writers Award in itself was confidence-boosting because it’s a recognition of the value of your writing.”
Serena Rozana, Children’s / YA 2021:
Participating in the London Writers Awards have pushed me to be a better writer through the creative writing masterclasses, critical feedback group sessions and 1:1s have been invaluable and whilst I default to shyness in relation to my writing, the support and encouragement participants receive is priceless.
Lavendhri Arumugam, Narrative Non-Fiction 2021
“The London Writers Awards had a significant impact on both my craft and confidence. Having such incredible peers and receiving the support we did from the programme staff was so affirming and encouraging. The facilitator programme was broad and informative and there were multiple opportunities to be placed in front of industry professionals who could advise us on how to manage ourselves in the great, wide world of publishing. Being part of this programme changed the way I write and the way I think. It has also provided me with a small writing family that I adore.”
The London Writers Awards 2022 is open for applications from London writers from backgrounds underrepresented in publishing from 1 – 31 October 2021. For more information please visit: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/applications-for-london-writers-awards-2022/
Published 1 October 2021