The London Library has announced the 40 participants of its Emerging Writers Programme, as the library plans its reopening on 6th July.
This year's programme will see writers including actor Freya Mavor, Eric Gregory Prize-winner Natalie Linh Bolderston and John Brabourne Film award-winner Kate Perry join 37 other emerging authors. The intake features four poets, six playwrights, six screenwriters, six writers preparing non-fiction and 18 writers planning fiction works.
All writers will be given a free year's membership to the library, in addition to workshops and development opportunities.
The candidates were chosen from a field of 800 applicants, by a panel of judges chaired by author and London Library trustee Isabelle Dupuy. Broadcaster, writer and film-maker Bidisha, producer Eleanor Greene, translator Daniel Hahn, literary agent Victoria Hobbs, poet Karen McCarthy Woolf, playwright Amy Rosenthal and novelist Anna Whitwham comprised the panel.
Dupuy said: "It's been a great honour to chair our Emerging Writers Programme this year. We had just reached the deadline for submissions when our lockdown began. Reading through over 800 writing samples ranging from non-fiction to poetry to screenplays with topics going from president Truman being told about the nuclear bomb to the impressions of a newly arrived Jamaican boy at a London comprehensive gave us all a deep appreciation of the talent, energy and range of voices striving to emerge in London and beyond.
"This is a historical year. Never before in my lifetime have I seen such an interest in changing the nature of the narrative in our country. We are convinced the cohort of 2020 will play an important role in shaping this new narrative. On behalf of The London Library, thank you."
The London Library will reopen on 6th July, with book quarantining measures, specially constructed lanes and entrance arrangements to support physical distancing, and a pre-booking system so that numbers in the library can be "maintained at appropriate levels."