Date posted: 13th June 2017 / News
Literature Works is delighted to be partnering with Penguin Random House on WriteNow 2017. We will be participating in their Bristol Insight Day in September.
Penguin Random House UK is partnering with South West writing charity Literature Works to launch WriteNow – a nationwide campaign to find and develop talented new writers from under-represented communities.
In a further effort to make book publishing more inclusive, Penguin Random House launches an Inclusion Tracker to measure the diversity of its new authors and employees in an industry first, setting a company-wide goal for new authors and employees to reflect UK society by 2025.
Penguin Random House UK has opened applications for its year-long WriteNow mentoring programme in a bid to discover and develop new writing talent from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves.
WriteNow was created in 2016 to help ensure books and publishing better reflect UK society. It aims to find unpublished voices that are currently under-represented in books across all genres, including Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s. This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) writers, or writers with a disability.
The programme offers 150 aspiring writers access to free regional events in London, Bristol and Newcastle where they will get one-to-one time with editors to receive expert, personalised feedback on their book, alongside access to literary agents and published authors, including Elif Shafak, Kit de Waal, Afua Hirsch and Fox Fisher.
Penguin Random House editors will work with 10 of the most promising writers over 12 months to make their manuscripts the best they can be, with the ultimate ambition of publishing these new writers.
Penguin Random House is partnering with regional writer development charities Spread the Word, Literature Works and New Writing North to launch WriteNow 2017.
Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, commented: “We are determined to publish a wider range of voices and books to more fully reflect the diverse society we live in.
Books and reading can make an enormous difference to people’s lives, expanding our imaginations and empathy and helping us make sense of different perspectives.
As the UK’s number one publisher, our job is to tell the stories which aren’t often told. That’s why with WriteNow we are taking our teams outside of London and into communities to meet and mentor aspiring authors. We want to find and bring to life writing that connects with all readers, bringing the best new under-represented voices to bookshelves.”
Over 2,000 writers applied for WriteNow last year, with 150 invited to attend regional events. 98% of writers attending said that being part of WriteNow had increased their confidence as a writer. Charlene Allcott was one of the twelve writers selected to take part in the first mentoring programme. She shares her thoughts on WriteNow:
“The opportunity to meet a lot of people in the industry was like being able to step behind a velvet rope at a nightclub that that you’ve been desperate to get into for years and years. And actually, when you get there, you see that everyone is like you and has the same hopes and dreams and ambitions. To any writers thinking about applying for WriteNow, I would say stop thinking and start writing.”
Nikesh Shukla, author of The Good Immigrant said: “WriteNow was a great opportunity for marginalised writers to be in a room with their peers, writers they respect and editors willing to offer them feedback. Sometimes this is all you need to show you that you can be a writer and you deserve success – being in the room. Well done WriteNow for inviting people into the room.”
Helen Chaloner, Chief Executive, Literature Works, added: “Literature Works is delighted to be collaborating on WriteNow and we are looking forward to the insight day in Bristol on Saturday 16th September. This initiative shows real ambition for writing in our region. Penguin Random House is setting out to discover and, more importantly, to nurture exciting new voices from under-represented groups. We can’t wait to see what emerges.”
Alongside launching WriteNow 2017, Penguin Random House has set itself a company-wide goal to ensure its new hires and the books it acquires reflect UK society by 2025, in terms of social mobility, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexuality. The publisher wants to see a positive shift towards this goal every year through to 2025.
To measure progress towards this goal, Penguin Random House will ask newly acquired authors and new employees to complete a voluntary Inclusion Tracker. Penguin Random House will voluntarily publish this data on its website each year.
Applications for WriteNow 2017 open on 13th June. Visit the website for further details.