The UK’s largest publisher, Penguin Random House UK, is looking for new and underrepresented writers from Liverpool and the North West to apply to its WriteNow programme.
In partnership with New Writing North, Penguin Random House will be coming to Liverpool on Saturday 15 September to host a free workshop for 50 writers about how to get their book published, with advice and insights from established authors, 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 on their manuscript. Penguin Random House will be holding similar workshops in London and Nottingham, with budding illustrators from around the country invited to learn more about becoming a picture book illustrator at the event in Nottingham on 29 September.
Ten exceptional writers/illustrators from across the three workshops will be invited to join a year-long mentoring programme, during which time they will be paired with a Penguin Random House with an 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 Penguin Random House is calling for unpublished writers in fiction, non-fiction, and children’s/Young Adult genres, as well as illustrators of children’s picture books, who consider themselves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. 50 talented writers will be invited to attend the free workshop in Liverpool in September, with 10 illustrators invited to attend the Nottingham event.
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 socioeconomically 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.
Two further current mentees are from Liverpool: Emma Morgan, whose literary debut A Love Story for Bewildered Girls has also been bought by Penguin; and Christine Brougham, who is writing a memoir about growing up with cerebral palsy. Penguin Random House wants to find more talented voices from the region 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.” Christine Brougham added: “Not only does the Write Now program provide talented writers with a unique opportunity to improve their skills and confidence, it is also an important platform in terms of social diversity which affords writers like me an opportunity to demonstrate the validity of lives less ordinary.”
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.”
Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with our friends at Penguin Random House to bring another WriteNow event to the North of England. Liverpool is a city full of great writers and it will be fantastic to open out this amazing opportunity to the North West and to help to support the breadth of engagement that Penguin are serious about having with writers across the UK.”
For more information and how to apply go to: www.write-now.live