17 Aug 2020
London Writers Awards 2021 open for applications from Black Writers & Writers of Colour
“Initiatives like the London Writers Awards are essential to the evolution of the literary world. The recognition that Awards like this one offers can make all the difference in helping writers and projects find their readers and reach their full potential. London Writers Awards’ package of mentoring, creative and career support shows a real understanding of what it means to emerge and thrive as a writer. For writers from underserved communities and marginalised identities, and readers wishing to encounter the full richness of the world in literature, we all have something to win through this award.” Season Butler, author, 2021 Judge
The London Writers Awards – Spread the Word’s annual development programme for talented London writers – opens for applications today,
Spread the Word invites applications from London-based writers of colour and working class, LGBTQIA+ and disabled writers each year. The aim of the Awards, now in its third year, is to support and nurture writers from communities currently under-represented and marginalised in UK publishing.
Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word comments:
“There is an urgent need for more stories from London’s diverse communities. The London Writers Awards is the only development programme in the UK that has equity at its heart, is free to participate in with bursaries and an access fund. It offers writers the opportunity to become part of a community, improve your craft and connect with the publishing industry. We are looking forward to receiving applications from talented writers from across London’s communities for the third year of the Awards, and to continuing to make change for writers and readers.”
Writers are selected through a free and open application process. The programme is for writers who are committed to developing their work and their craft. It has helped 60 writers so far, 22% of whom had no writing development support before taking part. The programme offers 30 successful awardees
Mark Mukasa, 2020 awardee comments:
“I’ve harboured an ambition to become a published writer all my life. When I started to look into the programme, it immediately struck me as being a fantastic opportunity to develop my writing skills, earn some invaluable guidance on how to sharpen my story as well as exposing me to a superb network within the publishing and creative industries. If you’re an aspiring author, I think that this is a monumental chance to receive the necessary guidance to polish your work as well as to learn about the publishing industry and make valuable contacts within the space. Whenever I speak to my peers on the course, many of them agree that the London Writers Awards has taken our craft to the next level and has been directly responsible for some of us becoming agented or refining our drafts. I would strongly recommend any London based writer to apply to the scheme this year.”
The 2021 awards will focus on four genres: Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, YA/Children’s Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction. They are judged by a panel of authors and publishing industry professionals.
Author judges for the 2021 Awards are: Michael Donkor; Season Butler; Ayisha Malik; Samantha Baines and Luke Turner. Industry judges are the editor Ellah P. Wakatama;
The London Writers Awards submissions deadline is Wednesday 30th September.
Spread the Word will be running an online seminar about the Awards on Wednesday 9th September, 6.30 – 8 PM for writers considering applying. The seminar will be BSL interpreted.
Submissions are accepted online and in written, video and audio formats. Information about the Awards is available in large print and easy read formats.
A shortlist of applicants will be invited to an interview with the Spread the Word team on one of the following dates: 1st – 3rd December. Spread the Word will contact everyone who submits an application in November.
Want to get in touch?
If you have read all of our supporting documents and links and you still have a question about the London Writers Awards that isn’t answered in them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The London Writers Awards launched in 2018 in response to Spread the Word’s 2015 report Writing the Future. Since launch, 15 awardees have been agented, and 5 book deals have been confirmed
The Awards are supported by Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation with sponsorship from ALCS.
About Spread the Word
Spread the Word is London’s writer development agency and a National Portfolio client of Arts Council England. It is funded to help London’s writers make their mark on the page, the screen and in the world and build strategic partnerships to foster a literature ecology which reflects the cultural diversity of contemporary Britain. Spread the Word has a national and international reputation for initiating change-making research and developing programmes for writers that have equity and social justice at their heart. In 2015 it launched, Writing the Future: Black and Asian Writers and Publishers in the UK Market Place. In 2020 it launched Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing Dr Anamik Saha and Dr Sandra van Lente, Goldsmiths, University of London, in partnership with The Bookseller and Words of Colour.