Spread the Word has chosen 30 writers from underrepresented backgrounds for its second annual London Writers Awards.
The final 30 were chosen by a judging panel including include Orion editor Katie Brown and Emma Finn, literary agent at C&W and will receive a nine-month writing programme, running from this month until May 2020.
The awards aim to increase the number of writers of colour and working class, LGBTQ+ and disabled writers getting agent representation or their work published. The writing development agency will provide writing labs and tuition led by writers Abir Mukherjee, Rowan Coleman and literary agent Felicity Trew.
The 2019 cohort includes 58-year-old teacher Pam Williams, teacher Michael Mann, charity director Alexis Keir, criminologist Shane White, psychiatric nurse Elliot F Sweeney, Salma Ibrahim, who founded writing platform writers of colour Literary Natives, and Italian–Mauritian Loretta Ramkissoon, whose work was included in the Common People (Unbound) anthology.
Chair of Spread the Word Trustees Rishi Dastidar said: “I’m delighted that the London Writers Awards are returning for a second year, and so a new cohort of diverse and under-represented writers gets the chance to hone and polish their skills so they’re ready when the publishing industry comes calling.
“Across all genres of fiction and non-fiction we have found writers with different life experiences and backgrounds who are united by one thing – their undisputed talent and ability to tell the stories that we should be hearing. It also again reminds us that the future of storytelling is to be found in London, and I’m delighted that we have the chance to help bring this future closer with the invaluable support of the publishing industry.”
Spread the Word is currently working in partnership with The Bookseller on a research project titled “Rethinking Diversity in Publishing” led by Dr Anamik Saha, Goldsmiths, University of London.