Writer's development agency Spread the Word and the Wellcome Collection are launching a programme for underrepresented non-fiction writers.
The Wellcome Collection and Spread the Word Writing Awards project aims to find and support writers who have ideas idea for non-fiction books for general readers that engage with health and being human.
It includes a £2,000 bursary and the opportunity to be published by the Wellcome Collection, which has first refusal on projects. Judged by Dr Annabel Sowemimo, Dr Camilla Pang and Raymond Antrobus, it will also will offer each writer mentoring with an author and editor, four workshops on writing non-fiction, insight and industry days and the opportunity to meet with agents. Each writer will also be offered one-to-one sessions with the Wellcome Collection’s publishing team, research specialists and editorial teams.
Applications are now open to writers aged 18+, who are unangented, based in the UK and are yet to be published. Submissions are sought from writers who identify as D/deaf, disabled, and/or neurodivergent and/or Black, Asian, or Global Majority (defined as Black, Indigenous and people of colour). Up to six writers will be selected for an intensive development programme to develop their non-fiction ideas to full-length book proposals. Applications will close at 5 p.m. on 22nd November.
Pang said: "What a great programme! It is a much needed effort to shine a light on talent otherwise hidden – to create opportunities in place of inaccessibility. The barriers one has based on race and shape of mind are finally being reframed, where difference is recognised as not only present and valuable, but an imperative that gives society it's edge to push the world forward. I am honoured to be judging it and I am optimistic that this will be the first of many initiatives to come."
Ruth Harrison, director of Spread the Word, added: "We are excited to launch a new programme with the Wellcome Collection that will increase the diversity and range of non-fiction publishing in the UK. This programme puts access and equity at the forefront to give writers not only a space and support to develop ideas but also funds to help turn their ideas into publishable books."
Wellcome Collection publisher Fran Barrie commented: "We're thrilled to be working with Spread the Word to find, nurture and support underrepresented voices, and hopefully address some of the barriers into non-fiction publishing. We're looking forward to working alongside writers as they develop their work – and give them the time, resources and space to do so."