Frequently Asked Questions


How is coronavirus impacting WriteNow?

To protect the health and wellbeing of WriteNow applicants and our colleagues, we have made the decision to host a virtual workshop on Saturday 11 July. We are working out the details of how this will work, and more information will follow soon.

Applications are still open, and the deadline has been extended to midnight on Sunday 31 May.

About you and your writing

How do I know if I'm from an under-represented community?

If you feel that your community, or your background, needs a stronger voice and a platform in publishing we would love to hear from you. 

This could include:

  • If you identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer)
  • If you identify as BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic)
  • If you have a disability. You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a “physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”
  • If you come from a socio-economically marginalised background, for example if you ever received free school meals or if you or your family have ever been on income support, homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • If you have or have ever had refugee status
  • If you are currently in prison or have ever spent time in prison.

Do I need a finished manuscript to apply?

You don’t need to have a complete manuscript to apply, although we will ask you for more writing throughout the process. We try to space out each stage so that you have time to write, and as you progress will ask for:

  • A further 5,000 words if you are invited to the workshop
  • Everything that you’ve written so far if you are shortlisted for the year-long editorial programme

Will I get any feedback on my application?            

After applications have closed, we will publish a blog post giving an overview of common themes and general feedback from the editors involved in the assessment process. We aren't able to give individual feedback to every applicant due to the volume of applications received.

If you are successful in your application and attend a WriteNow workshop, you will receive personalised feedback on your work from one of our editors. Writers shortlisted for the year-long programme will receive further feedback on their full manuscript.

Can I submit poetry? 

We're not looking for submissions in poetry, cookery or graphic novels. We’re happy to receive applications for short story collections and verse novels.

Does my story have to focus on 'issues' based narratives? 

No, not unless you want it to. We want to hear your perspective, and in your own words, whether you’re writing serious non-fiction about personal development or if you're the next Lee Child. 

What if I’m self-published, published in another format or genre, or published as part of an anthology?

We'd be happy to receive applications from writers who have self-published, been published as part of an anthology, been published in digital or e-book format only, or published in an entirely different genre (e.g. a non-fiction writer who has previously published poetry). We would also be happy to receive applications from writers who have been published in another format altogether such as a magazine or newspaper.

About the application process

How do I know that you've received my application?

Please use Google Chrome when submitting your application. You should be directed to a 'Thank You' page after submitting your application, confirming that we have received your application. Most people will also receive an automated email, although certain mailboxes will have automated emails blocked.

If you are not redirected to the 'Thank You' page, please email us at to confirm we have received your application.


Do I need to be a UK or Republic of Ireland resident to apply?

Yes. As WriteNow is being run by Penguin in the UK and ROI our programme is only open to UK and ROI residents. You don't need to have permanent citizenship – just a current and valid UK address. If you are currently homeless or do not have a fixed address, but reside in the UK or ROI, please get in touch with the WriteNow team by emailing

Can I apply if I’m already supported by Spread the Word, Creative Scotland, Literature Wales or Arts Council Northern Ireland?

Absolutely. We would love to work with writers supported by our partners.

How will you decide who gets through to attend the WriteNow workshops and who doesn’t?     

We will assess applications based on two factors:

Quality of writing and originality: assessed by a Penguin editor

Meeting our desired criteria: as part of your application we'll ask you to tell us, in your own words, why you feel your voice is under-represented in books and publishing. Your answer will be assessed by our partner Spread the Word, a writer development charity, together with members of our Human Resources team.    

Can I apply with more than one manuscript?

Yes, we will accept multiple submissions from the same writer so long as they are in different categories - fiction, non-fiction and children's. You won't be able to submit multiple manuscripts in the same category. 

If I applied in the past, can I apply to WriteNow again?

We aren’t accepting applications from writers who have previously successfully applied and attended a WriteNow workshop, to make sure that as many writers as possible have the opportunity to take part. If you have previously applied but didn't get through to workshop stage, you are welcome to apply again.

About the workshop

Can I still apply for the year-long programme if I can’t attend a WriteNow workshop?

We will only accept applications from writers who have attended the virtual workshop, and had the opportunity to discuss their work with one of our editors. 

If you are not able to attend the virtual event, for example because of a physical disability or if you are currently in prison, we will make arrangements on a case by case basis.

Is it free to take part?

Yes. Both the WriteNow workshops and programme are free for those taking part. 

About the year-long programme

Is a publishing contract guaranteed if I’m one of the 10 writers selected for the year-long programme?

We would love to have the chance to publish the writers we work with, but there are no guarantees.

Will you cover my travel expenses?

For writers who join our year-long programme, we will cover all related travel to our London offices, and accommodation where required. You can read full details of the expenses we're able to offer in our terms and conditions. 

If I join the year-long programme, will I have to publish my book with Penguin? 

We're investing time and resource in the 10 writers we'll be supporting through our year-long l programme, and so we will ask you to give us the first option (i.e. first refusal) of publishing your book. If we can’t come to an agreement after 30 days of good faith negotiations then you are welcome to take your book elsewhere.

Contact us

Questions? Send us an email at and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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