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WriteNow: Looking For New Talent in Nottingham

Mon 21 May, 2018

Writers! Illustrators! We have great news on how a very famous publishing house is looking for local talent to realise their potential...

In partnership with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and Writing East Midlands, Penguin Random House will be coming to Nottingham on Saturday 29 September to host a free workshop for 50 writers/illustrators about how to get their book published, with advice and insights from established authors, illustrators, literary agents and other industry experts. The event will also give each attendee the unique opportunity to receive one-on-one feedback from a Penguin Random House editor or designer on their manuscript or illustration respectively. 

Penguin Random House will be holding similar workshops in Liverpool and London, with 10 exceptional writers/illustrators from across the three events invited to join a year-long mentoring programme. During this time they will be paired with a Penguin Random House editor or designer with experience and expertise in their genre to develop their manuscript or illustrations further.

Penguin Random House is calling for unpublished writers in fiction, non-fiction, and children’s/Young Adult genres, as well as illustrators of children’s picture books, who consider themselves under-represented in publishing to apply. 40 talented writers and 10 illustrators will be invited to attend the free workshop in Nottingham in September. The application period is open until midnight on Monday 9 July (for writers) and midnight on Monday 23 July (for illustrators), with further information about how to apply available at www.write-now.live.

WriteNow is Penguin Random House’s flagship campaign which aims to seek out, mentor and publish new and under-represented voices on the UK’s bookshelves. This includes writers and picture book illustrators from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, those who have a disability, or come from a socio-economically marginalised background. This is also the first year that Penguin Random House is calling for entries from picture book illustrators; an area of publishing which has historically seen less representation.

WriteNow is already achieving real change: of the 23 writers who are currently part of the WriteNow mentoring programme, five have already been offered publishing deals, with the first book by a mentee – Charlene Allcott’s The Reinvention of Martha Ross – published in July this year.

Speaking of her experiences of the WriteNow programme, current mentee Emma Morgan – whose book A Love Story for Bewildered Girls will be published by Penguin in February 2019 – said: "WriteNow has been a great introduction to a publishing industry that seemed incredibly remote to me, and a year-long writing class with a top-notch editor. If, instead of calling myself 'someone who likes to write', I can now call myself 'a writer', it's really all down to this fantastic opportunity."

“It is vitally important to encourage and support writers from under-represented backgrounds, and as a UNESCO City of Literature with a reputation for radical ideas, free expression and working class rebellious writers from all backgrounds, Nottingham is the perfect place to search for WriteNow to nurture new talent”

Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House, said: “When launching WriteNow in 2016, our aim was to seek out talented new writers and different stories that represent everyone in our society. Two years on, the programme is already achieving real change: reaching communities of writers we haven’t before and adding new and exciting voices to our lists. We hope that by also inviting illustrators of children’s picture books to apply we are further breaking down barriers to publication. Seeing yourself in books is important at any age, but especially for our youngest readers.

Sandeep Mahal, Director, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, commented: “We are delighted that Nottingham has been chosen to host one of this year’s WriteNow events. It is vitally important to encourage and support writers from under-represented backgrounds, and as a UNESCO City of Literature with a reputation for radical ideas, free expression and working class rebellious writers from all backgrounds, Nottingham is the perfect place to search for WriteNow to nurture new talent. We are certain that the programme will be a great success and can’t wait to get started.”

Henderson Mullin, CEO, Writing East Midlands said: “Reducing barriers that exist between communities is the value guiding much of our activity. The publishing industry has a huge part to play in this by representing more voices at a time when some would prefer their silence. So, it is a pleasure to be associated with an initiative which will surely unearth talented new writers, from all sorts of communities, across the East Midlands and beyond.”


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publication publishing new writing

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