Spread the Word and Wellcome Collection
launch new development programme for non-fiction writers


Spread the Word and Wellcome Collection are delighted to launch Wellcome Collection x Spread the Word Writing Awards, an ambitious new pilot development programme. The project aims to find and support writers from underrepresented groups, who have a big idea for a non-fiction book for general readers, that engages with health and being human.

Applications will open from Monday 18 October to 18+, UK-based unpublished and unagented writers who identify as D/deaf, disabled, and/or neurodivergent and/or Black, Asian, or Global Majority. Applications can be made via the Spread the Word website and all application information will be published on Monday 18 October from 10am. Accessible application information will be made available via BSL and an Inclusive Read.

Up to 6 writers will be selected for an intensive development programme to develop their non-fiction ideas to full-length book proposals. Wellcome Collection will have first refusal on the projects. A free online event will be held on 27 October 7-8pm for potential applicants to find out more about the programme. This session is helpful and useful but attending it doesn’t guarantee attendees a place on the programme, nor is it a prerequisite to attend this seminar in order to apply. Applications will close at 5pm on Monday 22 November. 

Judged by Dr Annabel Sowemimo, Dr Camilla Pang and Raymond Antrobus, the programme will offer each writer a £2,000 bursary, mentoring with an author and editor, four workshops on writing non-fiction, insight and industry days and the opportunity to meet with agents. Each writer will also be offered one-to-one sessions with Wellcome Collection’s publishing team, research specialists and Stories editorial teams, in addition to the existing free-to-all access to its library resources.

Dr Camilla Pang said: ‘What a great programme! It is a much needed effort to shine a light on talent otherwise hidden – to create opportunities in place of inaccessibility. The barriers one has based on race and shape of mind are finally being reframed, where difference is recognised as not only present and valuable, but an imperative that gives society it’s edge to push the world forward. I am honoured to be judging it and I am optimistic that this will be the first of many initiatives to come.’

Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word said: ‘We are excited to launch a new programme with Wellcome Collection that will increase the diversity and range of non-fiction publishing in the UK. This programme puts access and equity at the forefront to give writers not only a space and support to develop ideas but also funds to help turn their ideas into publishable books.’

Fran Barrie, Publisher at Wellcome Collection said: ‘We’re thrilled to be working with Spread the Word to find, nurture and support underrepresented voices, and hopefully address some of the barriers into non-fiction publishing. We’re looking forward to working alongside writers as they develop their work – and give them the time, resources and space to do so.’

Applications will be open from Monday 18 October – Monday 22 November, 5pm and all the information will be on the Spread the Word website. Information will be accessible via an Inclusive Read and BSL. The free online event about the programme for potential applicants will take place on Monday 27 October 7 – 8pm. It will be BSL interpreted and autocaptioned.


Published 14 October 2021