Early Career Bursaries

The Early Career Bursaries for London Writers provide three London writers on a low income a year with bursaries each worth £15,000; £10,000 cash and £5,000 towards development opportunities. Applications to the programme are currently closed.

The Early Career Bursaries aim to make a significant difference to writers’ development of their craft and support career progression. The 2024 recipients are A. D. Aaba Atach, Sarah Cotton, and Vic Eveline.

The Bursaries are made possible by a generous philanthropic gift from Sam and Rosie Berwick, who won the 2022 Achates Prize for Individual Philanthropy for the programme.

If you work in the publishing industry, are a philanthropist or funder and are interested in having a conversation about the need for philanthropic support for writers and equitable and accessible early career interventions to address the systemic barriers faced by writers on a low income in creating work and progressing a creative career, please contact Bobby Nayyar: [email protected]

2024 Bursary Recipients

A. D. Aaba Atach

Sarah Cotton

Vic Eveline

“In the pursuit of an inclusive publishing industry, few organisations actually champion writers on a low income by recognising our talent and contributions to the literary world. Being awarded the Early Career Bursary is not merely a privilege; it’s a sanctuary that nurtures the literary potential of those whose stories were often borrowed and written by others more fortunate. I am immensely grateful to have been given this opportunity to join a supportive community of writers in London and develop my craft to its fullest extent.”

A. D. Aaba Atach, 2024 Bursary Recipient

2024 Judges

Monique Roffey

Patrice Lawrence

Santanu Bhattacharya

“Judging the Early Career Bursary this year was a huge honour and also very exciting. The standard of the work was off the scale, which made the process bittersweet. Sweet in that almost all the reading was very very pleasurable, and bitter in that it was so very hard to choose our winners. This is an excellent prize and opportunity for any emerging writer and our winners are a stellar cohort. This has been a privilege.”

Monique Roffey, Judge for ECB 2024

2023 Recipients

Sheila Atuona

C.E Cathcart

Selina Suzelle

“Having an Early Career Bursary feels like unlocking the next level of your journey as a writer; you have this dedicated time not just for writing but for experimenting and honing your work through mentoring, workshops, and research/field trips. Also, you have the support of the Spread the Word team, who are on hand to help and advise you. The award has given me the permission I needed to write.”

Sheila Atuona, 2023 Bursary Recipient

2023 Judges

Jeffrey Boakye

Luan Goldie

Tice Cin

Dr Mark Blacklock

“So much of the journey of bringing a manuscript to fruition often misses out the humanity of the writer – the routines and realities that make support as working-class writers ever necessary. The writers selected will now be able to have their work championed by key industry stakeholders, and move forward with their writing in ways bespoke to their needs, this expansiveness and choice will provide a great example of what can be done when the keys are placed firmly in the hands of working class writers.”

Tice Cin, 2023 Judge

“It is no overstatement to say that, for an early-career working class writer based in London, a bursary like this could be the difference between staying the course or having to accept the barriers are too many. Working class writers are particularly vulnerable at this stage in their career because there is a lot of graft, often very little monetary reward and even less resources to go around. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world but it is also, for better or worse, still very much the hub of publishing and one which emerging writers benefit by having access to. If we want those from working class backgrounds to have access to a career in writing that is based not on resource but on talent then bursaries like these level the playing field.”

Kerry Hudson, writer

“It’s extremely validating to have been awarded an Early Career Bursary. It has boosted my confidence and helped me to implement a regular writing practice. The support and feedback from mentorship sessions has been invaluable and working towards personalised objectives is a motivating force. As my writing project continues to develop, my long-term goals feel more tangible and achievable. I also feel less of a barrier to entry particularly with the nurturance from Spread the Word as an advocate, alongside access to their wider writers’ network.”

Selina Suzelle, 2023 Bursary recipient

The Early Career Bursaries for London Writers programme is managed by Spread the Word and is supported by a generous philanthropic gift from Sam and Rosie Berwick. Contact Bobby Nayyar, Programme Manager, for more information: [email protected]