The UK’s biggest book publisher, Penguin Random House, has joined forces with writer development charities Spread the Word, Writing West Midlands and Commonword to launch WriteNow. The nationwide initiative aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the UK’s bookshelves.
WriteNow aims to find exceptional unpublished writers that are under-represented in books and publishing. This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, writers who come from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, or writers with a disability.
It will offer them one-to-one time with editors and access to literary agents, booksellers and published authors, including Kit de Waal, Bernardine Evaristo, Catherine Johnson, Bali Rai and Sathnam Sanghera, at regional events in London, Birmingham and Manchester, with the ultimate ambition of publishing new writers.
If you’re from a marginalised community, whatever you’re writing about, your writing will be informed by your experiences, says Kit de Waal, author of the debut novel My Name Is Leon. Those experiences need to be out there. They need to be on the shelves so other people can read them. So other people can say: ‘Publishing is about my life. Publishing represents me. I have a stake in this. And I have something to say’. That’s why I’m delighted to be involved with WriteNow.
Unpublished, up-and-coming writers across the UK can apply to attend one of the WriteNow regional events by visiting www.write-now.live and submitting a sample of their work. 150 writers will then be invited to attend one of the events. Ten exceptional writers will go on to benefit from a year of mentoring with the goal of having their book published.
Books and publishing simply do not reflect the society we live in, says Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, said: Not only is that bad for the future of books, reading and culture, but it’s also a commercial imperative for us to change. If we don’t, we will become increasingly irrelevant.
Applications for the London event are open at www.write-now.live.