Curtis Brown launches writing scholarship in tribute to John le Carré

Curtis Brown launches writing scholarship in tribute to John le Carré

The Curtis Brown Creative writing school is launching an annual novel-writing scholarship in honour of late thriller writer John le Carré, seeking out "compelling storytelling and political engagement".

The news comes six months after the death of the 89-year-old author, whose real name was David Cornwell. He was represented by Jonny Geller, c.e.o. of the Curtis Brown Group, for almost 15 years. 

A bursary will be funded by the Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency, with the support of the author’s family. Applications for the first scholarship are now open and will provide full funding for one talented writer of limited financial means to join Curtis Brown Creative’s three-month online Writing Your Novel course running from 6th September to 13th December. 

Le Carré's 26th novel, Silverview, was recently announced. It was completed before his death in December 2020, and will be published by Viking on 14th October. “The annual scholarship will honour le Carré’s memory by seeking out new writing that demonstrates many of the qualities that were important to him, such as compelling storytelling and political engagement,” Curtis Brown said. “It will celebrate exciting voices which push at or break boundaries.” 

Geller commented: “We are very proud to provide this scholarship for our writing course in David’s name. He was hugely supportive to young writers and wrote beautifully about the craft of writing. The course will enshrine his values and proudly continue his tradition of giving back to the next generation.” 

Le Carré’s son Simon Cornwell, co-founder and joint c.e.o. of Ink Factory Productions, said his family were “thrilled” by the news. “Throughout his life, it was hugely important to our father to nurture writing talent wherever he found it, and he would have been very touched to feel that CBC was marking his memory with support for diverse, emerging and engaged contemporary voices,” he said. “We are looking forward to reading the work that flows from it.” 

Anna Davis, founder and m.d. Curtis Brown Creative, added: “We are honoured and privileged to run this new scholarship in the name of John le Carré and are hugely grateful to the Cornwell family for trusting us to do justice to his memory.” 

The scheme will join a rolling programme of scholarships, mentoring opportunities and intensive writing courses being offered for free to under-represented writers by Curtis Brown Creative, funded by the Curtis Brown Group. The Breakthrough Writers’ Programme opened its doors in February 2021 and has supported more than 45 authors, with further opportunities available this autumn. 

Find out more about the scholarship on the Curtis Brown Creative website.