Unbound unveils imprint for debut writers of colour

Unbound unveils imprint for debut writers of colour

Unbound is launching an imprint for debut writers of colour as it celebrates its 10th anniversary and aims to "publish books that change the world".

The Unbound Firsts list will take on two writers every year, with the intention of growing the number as the imprint gathers momentum. The unpublished writers will be offered a contract to release their debut fiction or non-fiction with the crowdfunded publishing house, utilising the press' near 300,000-strong community of readers to reach a new audience. Readers can support the imprint by pledging as a donator, subscriber, patron or bookshop.

The initiative is being led internally by Unbound’s commissioning team with Aliya Gulamani (pictured) as editorial lead, featuring an advisory board of writers comprising Nikesh Shukla, Chimene Suleyman, Musa Okwonga and Kit de Waal.

Gulamani said: "Unbound Firsts is an exciting initiative that seeks to make our platform more accessible to writers beginning their journey into publishing. This imprint will enable our readers and subscribers to discover brilliant books from emerging voices. I'm delighted to be leading this imprint to showcasing new talent."

The two-stage application process requires writers to submit a one-page synopsis along with the first 10,000 words of their manuscript. If chosen, writers will be asked to send Unbound their full manuscript for review.

Submissions open on 18th October and close on 30th November, with two shortlisted writers selected for publication to be announced in March 2022. As well as having their books published, the successful writers will receive £1,000 to help support them throughout the publishing process, as well as access to a publishing insights workshop, one-to-one editorial support and 50% of all profits from the publication of their books.

Publisher and co-founder of Unbound John Mitchinson said: "Launching Unbound Firsts gives us the chance to do something new and exciting: to find and publish writers of colour at the very beginning of their careers. It’s a way of using the energy and freedom of the crowdfunding model to support writers who might not otherwise have access to it. Whenever we ask the Unbound community what it is they want us to be doing, ten years after we launched, the message is clear: publish books that change the world. That’s what Unbound Firsts is all about."