CBC launches Breakthrough Writers' Programme

CBC launches Breakthrough Writers' Programme

The Curtis Brown Creative Writing School is launching a Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, which features fully funded courses, mentoring and scholarships for underrepresented writers. 

The programme – which is intended to run for a minimum of three years – aims to seek out writers and deliver teaching and industry advice, through interaction with successful authors, agents and publishers. 

The programme of courses and mentoring is fully funded by Curtis Brown Group and its literary agents. Opportunities are targeted to address specific barriers to entry and will commence in February 2021.

The programme will include a five-day intensive Zoom/online novel-writing course for 15 black writers, with award-winning author Jacob Ross as lead tutor, working with popular CBC tutor Laura Barnett – and featuring an afternoon with Curtis Brown literary agents Karolina Sutton and Felicity Blunt, Dialogue Books Publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove and HarperCollins editor Ore Agbaje-Williams. All students will also get one-to-one tutorials with Curtis Brown or C&W literary agents.  

Other courses include a nine-month mentoring programme for five black writers, provided by experienced author-tutors, plus an individual tutorial with an agent. Mentors for the programme include Leila Aboulela, Craig Barr-Green, Sara Collins, Suzannah Dunn, Yvvette Edwards, Mike Gayle, Cynan Jones, Catherine Johnson, Nikita Lalwani, Cathy Rentzenbrink and Anthony Trevelyan. 

In April the programme shifts focus to address the barrier of low income, with a five-day intensive Zoom/online novel-writing course for 15 writers from a low-income background, taught by  author-tutors Jake Arnott and Cathi Unsworth. This particular course will feature tutorials and an afternoon with agent Cathryn Summerhayes and C&W agent Katie Greenstreet, plus Orion Fiction Publisher Emad Akhtar, and one further publisher, still to be announced. A nine-month mentoring programme for five writers from low-income backgrounds will also be available. 

Curtis Brown's partners will also fund a scholarship for a black writer to join the six-month online novel-writing course in February 2021, provided by author Clare Mackintosh, who is also creating a bespoke 12-month mentoring programme for the scholar, to feature guidance from a range of leading authors.  

A scholarship for a writer from a low-income background to join the same six-month online course is also on offer, provided by the newly launched CHEERIO Publishing. 

Anna Davis, m.d. of Curtis Brown Creative, said: “It’s time for us to raise our game when it comes to reaching out to underrepresented writers – indeed, we have a responsibility to do this. I believe we’ll find some amazing writers through our new programme, and I’m excited at the prospect of supporting their development. I’m also delighted to be welcoming some fantastic new author-tutors to our team.” 

Karolina Sutton and Felicity Blunt, on behalf of the book department, added: “The Curtis Brown book agents are proud to be a part of this ambitious programme to reach and support under-represented writers. We are actively involved in third party initiatives, and will continue to work with these partnerships – but an agency of our size and influence should also be a direct provider of outreach opportunities for writers. We are thrilled to be launching the Breakthrough Writers’ Programme with our colleagues at Curtis Brown Creative – and are excited to meet the first students and start reading their work.”  

More details can be had from the CBC site.