WriteNow Live: London

Event details

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Event name: WriteNow Live: London

Date: Saturday 9th September

Time: 10:00 - 17:00

Venue: Penguin Random House, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL

Authors: Elif Shafak, Afua Hirsch, Dave Rudden, Fox Fisher, Francesca Martinez, Mahsuda Snaith


WriteNow aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves. This includes writers from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, writers who have a disability, or come from a socio-economically marginalised background.

In September, we will invite 150 writers to one of three insight days in London, Bristol and Newcastle. Writers will hear everything they need to know about getting published from authors, literary agents and Penguin Random House experts - as well as getting one-to-one feedback on their book from one of our editors. We’ll then ask 10 exceptional writers to join our year-long mentoring programme.  While there are no guarantees, ultimately we would love to publish these 10 writers. 

To apply for your place on our London insight day, click here

What's on offer?

You'll be one of 50 writers joining us for the day, which will include:

Publishing, de-mystified

We know that the publishing industry can sometimes seem like a 'closed shop' and that it can be confusing to understand how the word document saved on your laptop could top the bestseller list. To help give you an insight into what it's like to be a Penguin Random House author, we'll follow the journey of a book from manuscript to bookshelf:

  • The Author: it all starts with you and your book. You'll hear from a debut novelist.
  • The Agent: a literary agent will explain they play as the key link between authors and publishers, as well as working with writers to develop their manuscripts.
  • The Editor: a commissioning editor will describe their role, from the acquisitions process (deciding which books to buy) to working together with an author to get a finished manuscript ready for publication. 

You'll also hear a little more about how a publisher works with an author after their book has been acquired, including how we design a book's cover, how we create a 'buzz' around our books by connecting authors with their readers, and how we work with customers - from small independent bookshops to the likes of Asda and Tesco. 

One-to-one feedback from an editor

We have a team of Penguin Random House editors excited to meet you and to read your work (scroll down to see who they are and what they do). Each writer coming along to our workshops will spend 20 minutes talking with an editor about your book and your writing style. We'll ask you to send us up to 5,000 words two weeks before the workshop so that our editors can come ready with suggestions and constructive feedback. 

Writing: an author’s perspective

Join authors Afua Hirsch, Dave Rudden, Elif Shafak, Fox Fisher, Francesca Martinez and Mahsuda Snaith in conversation with one of our editors. Discussion will focus on authors’ experiences of getting published, their own writing style and approach to their own craft, and the advice they would give to writers starting out.  You can read more about the authors coming to WriteNow London below.

Putting yourself in the shoes of a literary agent

We know that often pitching your book to a literary agent can be a real challenge. This session aims to put you in the shoes of a literary agent, giving you practical tips on how to write the best possible covering letter to capture the attention of the agent receiving it. This interactive session will be hosted by two literary agents. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

How to edit your work

Our partners, Spread the Word, will facilitate an interactive writing workshop which will focus on how to hone your work, giving you practical hints and tips.


We'll make sure you get the chance to speak to our editors, agents and authors – as well as one another - more informally throughout the day. After the event has taken place, we’ll also invite you to join our WriteNow Facebook group which will act as a permanent place for you to network with other new writers.