Mentoring bursaries offered to low-income writers

Mentoring bursaries offered to low-income writers

Quality Writing for All, a campaign to support low-income writers, with a focus on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and disabled communities, will be officially launched tonight (16th June).

The scheme has been put together by The Literary Consultancy (TLC), which is using funding from Arts Council England.

The arts body increased TLC’s National Portfolio Funding grant for 2015-2018.

As part of the scheme TLC will offer an extension of its manuscript assessment programme. TLC has set aside £28,000 for manuscript assessments, an increase of £10,000. There will also be five mentoring bursaries available from this year to 2018, each of which include one-to-one feedback with a tutor and a manuscript assessment among other things.

Rebecca Swift, director of The Literary Consultancy, said: “TLC has always been interested in providing professional editorial advice to all-comers, and helping to bridge the gap between writers and the publishing industry. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to work with our excellent national partners and the Arts Council, to broaden our search for low-income, diverse, talented writers further than ever before.”

Writer and arts disability activist Penny Pepper, who has been mentored by Swift, will launch the campaign at London’s Free Word Centre with a performance of her one-woman show "Lost in Spaces".

She said: “As a writer from a disability arts background, I’ve pushed my work against a stubborn mainstream glass ceiling for some years. Having had the invaluable opportunity of being mentored by TLC for my memoir First in the World Somewhere and Rebecca’s fabulous ongoing championing of my one woman show, Lost in Spaces, I feel that TLC will play a crucial role in breaking my personal glass ceiling and also the first wave dismantling of the barriers and stereotyping put upon disabled writers. After a lifetime of defiant battles, the launch event performance of Lost in Spaces will be the first time my work has appeared in a context with such mainstream clout.”

Also speaking at the launch will be Jacob Ross from Peepal Tree Press, which specialises in Caribbean and Black fiction and poetry, and novelist Liam Brown.

Quality Writing for All is run in partnership with more than 15 national organisations including Arvon, New Writing North and Writers' Centre Norwich, and with new partners including Shape Arts, Wasafiri Magazine, and the Creative Future Literary Award.