‘If you’re an aspiring author, this is a monumental chance’: Nominations open for London Writers Awards


LONDON BASED black writers are among those being encouraged to apply for the London Writers Awards, Spread the Word’s annual development programme for talented wordsmiths living in the capital.

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.  

Spread the Word is also encouraging applications from London-based writers of colour and working class, LGBTQIA+ and disabled writers.

“There is an urgent need for more stories from London’s diverse communities”

Ruth Harrison, director, Spread the Word

The programme, which is free to apply for and participate in, offers 30 awardees an intensive programme of development over 10 months (January 2021 – October 2021) alongside networking with agents and publishers.

The 2021 awards will focus on four genres: literary fiction, commercial fiction, YA/children’s fiction and narrative non-fiction.

Ruth Harrison, director, Spread the Word, said: “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.”

“Initiatives like the London Writers Awards are essential to the evolution of the literary world”

Season Butler, author and 2021 judge

Mark Mukasa, 2020 awardee, said: “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.

Essential initiative

“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.”  

“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,” Season Butler, author and 2021 judge said.

The London Writers Awards launched in 2018 in response to Spread the Word’s 2015 report Writing the Future. Since its launch, 15 awardees have been agented, and five book deals have been confirmed. 

The deadline for submissions to this year’s London Writers Awards is Wednesday 30 September. 

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