Female crime writing group Killer Women is launching a scheme to support emerging authors from BAME and working-class backgrounds, endorsed by J K Rowling, Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid and Martina Cole.
The initiative will offer four women crime writers offered expert mentoring from synopsis to first draft manuscript, by published authors Jane Casey, Tammy Cohen, Emma Kavanagh-Jones and Colette McBeth. Each author will read work in progress, offer advice and up to 12 hours of one-to-one contact.
They will also get two tickets to the Killer Women Festival of Crime Writing and Drama in March 2020 and input on their work from the Good Literary Agency. The agency, Cleeves and others will offer exclusive workshops while a commissioning editor from HarperCollins imprint HQ will read and comment on mentees’ work with a view to potential publication.
Lisa Milton, executive publisher at HQ, said she hoped to find new authors to join her list. She added: “Encouraging new authors, bringing new perspectives and new voices to market is how we can change the fiction landscape.”
Killer Women, a group of 20 crime writers, was founded in 2015 by Melanie McGrath and Louise Millar. The pair explained: “Killer Women was set up to amplify and support female voices in crime fiction. This year we are delighted to be launching a mentoring scheme to support talented new writers in two of the most under-represented groups within our genre.”
The initiative is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and supported by Creative Access, HQ, the Reading Agency, the Good Literary Agency, Stoke Newington Literary Festival and Bradford Literary Festival.
Backing the scheme, Rowling said: “For me, writing crime fiction behind the pseudonym Robert Galbraith was a way to ensure that my books be judged on the merit of the writing alone, but I know how hard it is when you first hit the scene as an unrecognised author. I’m supporting the Killer Women mentoring scheme, because it helps open doors to new and as yet undiscovered voices in crime fiction.”
The scheme is open to UK women from BAME or working class backgrounds who want to write a full-length novel in the crime, psychological thriller or suspense genres. Entries must be submitted online via www.killerwomen.org and include a short synopsis along with a 4000 to 5000-word writing sample. Entry is free.