London Writers Awards

The London Writers Awards

The London Writers Awards are Spread the Word’s new annual development programme for talented London writers. The Awards’ aim is to increase the number of writers from under-represented communities being taken up by agents and publishers.

Each year, the Awards will offer up to 30 writers an intensive nine-month programme of masterclasses, critical feedback groups, WritersLabs, 1-2-1 coaching and networking opportunities. The 2018 Awards will run from September 2018 to May 2019.


The Awards are for: writers of literary fiction (including short stories), commercial fiction (for e.g.: crime, science fiction, romance), narrative non-fiction, YA/children’s (including middle grade and YA fiction, excludes picture books) and poetry, and are focused on supporting London-based writers of colour and working class, LGBTQ and disabled writers.

We are seeking talented writers who are committed to developing their work, their craft and their career.

Winners will be selected via open application and participation is free. Bursaries are available to writers who are most in need. An access fund is available to support writers with access requirements.

Please click to download the Eligibility Criteria and Terms and Conditions.

Click to download more information about our the Bursaries and Access Fund.

Got a question? Click here to download our FAQs.


You’ll become part of a critical feedback group meeting two times a month. Critical feedback groups are a proven way to take your writing forward, and you will receive feedback on your work at least four times. You’ll also get 1-2-1 professional development coaching.

You will participate in five craft masterclasses run by professional writers and five career masterclasses, run by industry speaks and experts. The career masterclasses will help you to build industry and business knowledge and gain practical skills.

You’ll take part in two WritersLabs. The first WritersLab (Saturday 22 September 2018), is where you’ll get to know your fellow writers; ask questions about the programme; be introduced to the critical feedback model through your group facilitator; meet and hear from the 2018 Judges and about the current publishing landscape and trends.

The second WritersLab (Thursday 23 May 2019), is where you’ll get to network and showcase your work to invited editors and agents.

All Awards activity will take place at venues with good transport links and full accessibility.


Applications are now closed for the 2018 London Writers Awards. The 2019 London Writers Awards will open for submissions in May 2019.

If you have submitted work for the 2018 Awards, we will be back in touch with you w/c 13 August to let you know the outcome of your submission. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview on either Tuesday 21 or Wednesday 22 August 2018 at the Spread the Word offices at The Albany, Douglas Way, London SE8 4AG.


The Awards are supported by Arts Council England and with sponsorship from ALCS.

If you are a publisher, agent or professional writer and interested in finding out more and potentially becoming a supporter or partner to the London Writers Awards, please contact: Ruth Harrison, Director at Spread the Word.



Diana Evans

Literary Fiction

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Diana Evans is the award-winning author of Ordinary People, The Wonder and 26a. She has been shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel, the Guardian First Book, the Commonwealth Best First Book and the Times/Southbank Show Breakthrough awards. She has been a deciBel Writer of the Year winner at the British Book Awards and was the inaugural winner of the Orange Award for New Writers. She lives in London.

Vaseem Khan

Commercial Fiction

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Vaseem Khan is the author of the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency novels – a series of crime novels set in India – featuring retired Mumbai police Inspector Ashwin Chopra and his sidekick, a baby elephant named Ganesha. The first book in the series is entitled The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra and was published in 2015 and went on to become a Times bestseller.

Cathy Rentzenbrink

Narrative Non-Fiction

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Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache. Cathy regularly chairs literary events, judges prizes, reviews books and speaks and writes about literacy, literature and everything in between. She has previously worked at Waterstones, Quick Reads and The Bookseller and has seen the book industry from multiple angles. Happiest when talking to strangers about books, Cathy thinks that most lives would be enriched by more reading and writing.

Daljit Nagra


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Daljit Nagra was born and brought up in London and Sheffield. In 2003, he won the Smith/Doorstop pamphlet competition with Oh my Rub!, He won further acclaim with his collection ‘Look We Have Coming to Dover’ winning Forward Prizes for best single poem and best first collection. His latest collection is British Museum. He teaches poetry at Brunel University London and is poet in residence for Radio 4 and 4 Extra.

Patrice Lawrence


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Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton, brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family in mid-Sussex and lives in East London with her daughter, partner and Stormageddon, the tabby. Patrice’s debut YA novel, Orangeboy (Hodder), was greeted with a critical and prize-winning storm. Indigo Donut (Hodder), Patrice’s second novel, met with great reviews, and was Book of the Week in The Times, The Observer and The Sunday Times.

Lucy Luck

Literary Fiction

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Lucy Luck is a literary agent at C+W. She started in publishing in 1997 as an assistant at Rogers, Coleridge & White. In 2006 she set up her own agency, where her authors were listed for numerous awards including the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, the Impac Dublin Literary Award to name a few. In 2014 she formally joined Aitken Alexander Associates and in November 2016 she moved to C+W. Her list of authors includes Catherine O’Flynn, Kevin Barry and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.

Ella Kahn

Commercial Fiction

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Prior to co-launching the Diamond Kahn & Woods Agency in 2012, Ella Kahn worked at Andrew Nurnberg Associates as an Assistant Literary Agent. She represents upmarket contemporary and historical fiction, science fiction, and some non-fiction. She also represents a wide range of children’s fiction for the 9-12 and YA age groups. She is passionate about finding and championing new voices, including those traditionally under-represented in publishing.

Rukhsana Yasmin

Narrative Non-Fiction

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Rukhsana Yasmin is the Deputy Editor of Wasafiri Magazine. She has over ten years of publishing experience, and has commissioned several books in the UK, including the International Man Booker shortlisted Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila.

Rachael Allen


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Rachael Allen’s first pamphlet of poems was published by Faber & Faber. She is the poetry editor for Granta magazine and co-editor of the poetry anthology series Clinic and the online journal Tender.

Aimée Felone


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Aimée Felone is co-founder of newly launched Knights Of – a commercial children’s publisher whose main focus is hiring diversely and commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds. She has worked at Eve White Agency, David Higham Associates and was Assistant Editor at Scholastic.


‘As the world changes around us, the need of the hour is for a generation of diverse literary voices to come to the fore, reflecting our modern societies. But such voices need to be encouraged, nurtured, and given the same opportunities as those traditionally favoured by the industry. The London Writers Awards are leading the way in this brave new world, by providing meaningful career support for emerging writers from diverse backgrounds, allowing them to achieve that breakthrough moment. For me such a breakthrough came after 23 years of waiting. I only wish something like the London Writers Awards programme had been around when I was first trying to make my mark … I am truly excited to be a part of this initiative.’

Vaseem Khan, writer and judge


Please contact Bobby Nayyar, Programme Manager at Spread the Word, if you have a question about the Awards.

T 020 8692 0231 (ext 249)



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