The London Writers Awards
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 To make the step change from unpublished writers to being agented, writers need good sustained professional input and quality feedback to produce work that will be published.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 2019 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 run from September to May each year. They are free to participate in. Bursaries are available for writers in need and there is an Access Fund for disabled writers.
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.
Author judges for the 2019 Awards were: Abir Mukherjee, Saieda Rouass, Kate Davies, Danielle Jawando and Derek Owusu. The industry judges are: Elise Dillsworth (independent literary agent), Emma Finn (literary agent at Conville and Walsh) Katie Brown (commissioning editor for fiction at Trapeze, an Orion Publishing Group imprint), Philippa Milnes-Smith (managing director and agent for children’s and YA, The Soho Agency) and Rupert Lancaster (non-fiction publisher at Hodder & Stoughton).
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 take place at venues with good transport links and full accessibility.
APPLY FOR AN AWARD
Applications are currently closed. They will reopen in May 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 is 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.