Word Space is our new online talent development programme for emerging voices in the South West and it is ambitious:  all about nurturing a supportive, connected sense of community amongst new writers and with the established writers who will support them. Submissions are open until the end of January.

In April the first group of writers from across the region will embark on a journey together, honing on their craft through mentoring, peer support, industry insight, advice sessions with Literature Works staff, performances, and access to a growing network of writers.

To exchange knowledge and test the model, we have teamed up with five established Literature Works partner organisations, who share our focus on supporting new writing and are also well placed to extend the reach of Word Space. They are already supporting underrepresented voices, providing opportunity in areas of low engagement, and engaging closely with their communities. Each of our partners will directly select one participant for this very special first Word Space group. We are excited about this strong partnership with The Bookery, an independent bookshop and writing hub in Crediton, Devon; Dialect Writers, working with writers in rural Gloucestershire; Out on the Page, nurturing and supporting LGBTQ+ writers; Speaking Volumes, producing live literature and a range of support for diverse writers; and Little Toller Books, publishers and booksellers specialising in themes around rurality and nature writing.

Word Space is about writing potential and talent and about removing obstacles which can stand in the way of the writer development journey. With our partners, we are particularly interested in new work by writers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, LGBTQ writers, minority ethnic writers, and writers with a disability. Our partners’ in-depth knowledge of their own networks supports this element of the selection process.

Through Word Space we also hope to develop and strengthen the infrastructure which supports writers in the region. We will work with publishers, agents, booksellers and festivals to nurture and support the group, helping to grow the sector and the opportunity available in our region.