Twelve exceptional writers from across the country are joining Penguin Random House UK’s year-long mentoring programme, WriteNow, which aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities currently under-represented on the UK’s bookshelves.
This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) communities, as well as writers with a disability.
Each of the twelve writers is being paired with a mentoring editor from Penguin Random House with experience and expertise in their genre.
Together, the writers and editors will develop the manuscripts to make them the best they can be and ready for publication.
Over 2,000 writers applied for WriteNow last year, with 150 invited to attend regional events in London, Birmingham and Manchester where they heard from editors, literary agents and authors including Jonathan Coe and Malorie Blackman. The twelve writers announced today were selected from that group based on the quality of their writing.
Penguin Random House cares passionately about finding new and under-represented literary voices. The company developed WriteNow in partnership with writer development charities Spread the Word (London), Writing West Midlands (Birmingham) and Commonword (Manchester) to help make books and publishing more inclusive.
Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, said: “Books play a unique role in society. They spark conversations and bring people together through new ideas and perspectives."
“Our role is to seek out voices that speak to all of society and make sure those books and stories are for everyone. That’s why programmes like WriteNow are so important.
“My proudest moment last year was attending WriteNow in Birmingham and I am really excited that we have the opportunity to work with these talented writers over the next year.”
Mainga Bhima, Editor and WriteNow Mentor, Penguin Random House UK, added: “We’re thrilled to be able to work with this group of exceptional writers, each with a distinct voice and a brilliant story to tell. The industry and our audiences need stories that reflect the multitude of experiences within our communities."
“Our job over the next year is to help refine their manuscripts, supporting each of the writers as they develop their stories and work to position their books in the market.”
Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word, commented:
“It has been amazing to work with Penguin Random House on WriteNow, helping to discover talented writers. More than ever, we need to be reading stories that reflect the diversity of voices and communities from across the UK."
“Spread the Word is looking forward to seeing how these mentee writers and their books develop and progress, and to continuing to support each of the writers who has come through the programme.”
Find out more about WriteNow and our commitment to making publishing inclusive here.