Top publisher looks to writers from ‘underrepresented backgrounds’

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HARPERCOLLINS UK has today launched The Author Academy, a new, free programme to train and support writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.

It’s brilliant that 90 writers a year will be able to add to their skills and also participate in this industry

Rachel Edwards

Devised and run by Affiliate Publisher Rose Sandy, with support from experts within HarperCollins as well as authors and agents, the six-week programme will run twice a year, with up to 45 students in each intake.

The first course will run in January 2021, with the second following in September.

In addition to high-quality instruction in creative writingacrossthree streams -adult fiction, non-fiction, and children’s writing- The Author Academy will offer carefully curated publishing foundation masterclasses on other aspects of the book publishing, such as platform building, marketing, cover design and rights.

Guest speakers including authors June Sarpong, Rachel Edward sand Jamila Gavin, and Silé Edwards of Mushens Entertainment alongside HarperCollins editors and creatives will deliver teaching via a combination of live webinars and online streaming via its dedicated website, with face-to-face instruction coming when allowable.

Rose Sandy said: ‘The Academy provides a warm and supportive environment for aspiring writers, and once students have completed our course, they will be able to navigate the publishing industry and deliver a solid pitch for publication.

“We have the expertise of our brilliant colleagues behind the Academy, and I am grateful to our authors and industry partners who have been so supportive.

“I can’t wait to meet our first students.”

Charlie Redmayne said: ‘I’m very proud of the programme that Rose and the team have put together and believe it offers an amazing opportunity for talented writers from backgrounds underrepresented in publishing.

“HarperCollins Author Academy is a great way to help a new wave of writers to build their skills, develop their craft and get that crucial first deal.”

Graduating students will receivea certificate and be eligible to join the Academy’s Alumni Network, a community for underrepresented authors to continue the conversation, create critique circles, and meet industry professionals after completing the course.

The Alumni Network also aims to provide networking opportunities for all students at least once a year.

Rachel Edwards said: “I am so delighted to be taking part in the HarperCollins Author Academy as a guest speaker on fiction writing. I wish something like this had existed when I was starting my author career.

“It’s brilliant that 90 writers a year will be able to add to their skills and also participate in this industry.”

Jamila Gavin said: “The creation of a writing academy, specifically for giving opportunities to underrepresented voices, is an incredibly important initiative.

“Our society is richly diverse: full of different backgrounds and cultures, and full of untold stories which need to be told.

“The academy, in helping to nourish a new generation of writers, will undoubtedly discover exciting talent.

“Having been given the chance to tell my stories, I am privileged and excited to be a part of this vision.’June Sarpong said:‘HarperCollins keeps leading the way in our quest to create equality for everyone in the publishing industry from agents to authors, employees to freelancers.

“With the Academy, they are making the next step in creating the space for a new generation of authors to learn their craft, to develop the skills and to make the connections that they need to become writers.

“I’m delighted to be supporting this initiative and look forward to seeing these future stars launch their writing careers.”

The Author Academy is open for applications for its inaugural intake now, with a closing date of November 16.


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