ANNOUNCEMENT ON YEAR 3 OPENING FOR APPLICATIONS
The London Writers Awards is Spread the Word’s flagship development programme for unpublished and unagented London-based writers of colour and writers from disabled, LGBTQ+ and working class backgrounds. Over the last two years 60 writers have taken part with 9 signing up with literary agents, 4 book deals, and one book already published.
Originally due to open in May, applications to the third year of the programme will now open on Monday 17 August 2020 and close on Wednesday 30 September. This is to allow more time to shape the programme in response to Covid-19 and ensure that we reach more writers in need.
In the build up to opening applications we will be running sessions for people to find out more about the programme and hear from previous awardees. Information about these will be in our newsletter and on our social media.
Year three of the programme will run from January-October 2021 for 30 writers of commercial, literary, YA/children’s and narrative non-fiction.
‘There’s a lot of talk in publishing circles these days about inclusivity and the need for a diversity of published voices. However, these calls often ignore the structural factors which hold back writers from minorities and other under-represented communities: factors ranging from a lack of financial support to an unfamiliarity with how the industry operates. In such an environment, the London Writers Awards aim to make a concrete difference, nurturing raw talent and helping writers through mentoring, masterclasses and financial support where necessary. I’m proud to be involved with such a worthwhile endeavour.’ – Abir Mukherjee, Author and London Writers Awards Judge 2019
ABOUT THE AWARDS
Launched in 2018, The London Writers Awards is Spread the Word’s annual development programme for talented London writers. The aim of the Awards is to increase the number of writers from under-represented communities being taken up by agents and publishers. To make the step change from unpublished writers to being agented, writers need good sustained professional input and quality feedback to produce work that will be published. The London Writers Awards offer this opportunity.
The Awards focus on four genres of prose writing: literary fiction (including short stories), commercial fiction (for e.g.: crime, science fiction, romance), narrative non-fiction and YA/children’s (including middle grade and Young Adult fiction, excludes picture books).
The Awards are free to participate in. Bursaries are available for writers in need and there is an Access Fund for disabled writers.
“Growing up, I decided that science was my best option for leaving the poverty which surrounded me behind, and so I put far-fetched dreams away. Following that path seemed a necessity, but it is one which left me incomplete. The London Writers Award has helped to revive those far-fetched dreams, in ways that would have been almost impossible otherwise, and made me feel more confident about my destination than I have in years.” – Alex Marshall, London Writers Awards Awardee 2019, Commercial Fiction
WHO ARE THE AWARDS FOR?
The Awards support 30 London-based writers of colour and working class, LGBTQ+ and disabled writers each year.
Writers are selected through a free and open application process. The programme is for writers who are committed to developing their work, their craft and their career.
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE PROGRAMME?
Awardees become part of a critical feedback group meeting twice a month. Critical feedback groups are a proven way to take writing forward, and participants will receive feedback on their work at least four times, as well as getting 1-2-1 professional development sessions.
Writers will participate in craft masterclasses run by professional, aspirational writers, and career masterclasses run by industry speakers and experts. The career masterclasses will help Awardees to build industry and business knowledge and gain practical skills.
Awardees take part in two WritersLabs. The first WritersLab is an opportunity for writers get to know their peers; ask questions about the programme; be introduced to the critical feedback model through their group facilitator; meet and hear from the Judges and about the current publishing landscape and trends.
The second WritersLab is where writers will get to network with invited editors, publishers and agents.
All Awardees receive 1-2-1 professional development sessions with members of the Spread the Word team to support their development, progress and wellbeing whilst on the programme.
All Awards activity will be fully accessible.
APPLY FOR AN AWARD
Applications are currently closed. They will reopen on Monday 17 August 2020.
CALL OUT TO THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
If you are a publisher, agent or professional writer and interested in finding out more about becoming a supporter, partner or patron to the London Writers Awards, please contact Bobby Nayyar at Spread the Word: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Awards are financially supported by Arts Council England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and sponsored by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.
Independent Publishers Guild,
The Society of Authors,
Conville and Walsh,
The Soho Agency,
Hodder and Stoughton,
Trapeze / Orion Publishing and
The Elise Dillsworth Literary Agency.