What's on offer?

WriteNow offers 150 new writers from across the UK and Ireland the chance to join us for a free Penguin workshop on 'how to get published'. 

Held online on Saturday 11 July, this workshop aims to give you the tools, information and inspiration you need to become a published author.

Joining a WriteNow workshop is also an opportunity to be considered for our year-long programme, which matches ten exceptionally talented writers with a Penguin editor to help work on your manuscript. 

“When I applied for WriteNow, I was having an interesting time of things. I was going through a bereavement, and also coming out as trans non-binary. I felt like my whole life should have a sign on it saying. So sending in my application form felt like another kind of coming-out. I identify as: writer.”

roo, WriteNow alumnus

WriteNow Liverpool attendees laughing
Writer receiving feedback from a Penguin editor during their 1-1

When and where are the WriteNow workshops?

To protect the health and wellbeing of WriteNow applicants and our colleagues, we have made the decision to move to a virtual workshop on Saturday 11 July for all 150 shortlisted writers this year.

What to expect from a WriteNow workshop

Personalised feedback from a Penguin editor

Each writer attending a WriteNow workshop will have time one-to-one with a Penguin editor, with expertise in their genre, to get expert feedback and tailored advice on their writing. We'll ask you to submit a further 5,000 words of your book ahead of the workshop to be discussed in this session.  

These one-to-ones will take place over the phone or via Zoom and will take place in the fortnight following Saturday 11 July at a time that suits both you and your editor.

The chance to hear from industry experts

The WriteNow workshop will be made up of a number of interactive and practical panel discussions throughout the day, including:

  • An overview of the publishing process from start to finish, including a published author, literary agent, editor, and marketer/ publicist.
  • Published authors talking about how they write - including balancing writing alongside life/ family/ work commitments, how they self-edit and improve their writing, and their own journeys to getting published. In previous years, authors attending WriteNow workshops have included Bernardine Evaristo, Elif Shafak, Malorie Blackman and Alan Johnson MP.
  • Literary agents sharing their top tips on how to pitch your book, and how to write an effective covering letter.
  • A chance to meet other new writers like you, with opportunities to connect virtually throughout the day.
  • Hearing from a WriteNow alumnus who has been part of our year-long programme.
  • Genre-based breakout sessions for non-fiction and children's writers.
  • The chance to ask questions throughout the day.

An introduction to the local support available for writers

We'll connect you with our partners Spread the Word (London), Arts Council Northern Ireland (Belfast), Creative Scotland (Glasgow) and Literature Wales (Cardiff). They will let you know about the ongoing support they offer locally for writers and can introduce you to networks and activities in your area, as well as acting as a long-term point of contact and resource. 

“I feel empowered to continue to rewriting the novel I submitted but also to continue sharing my own authentic experiences and worldview. I feel like so many doors are open to me in the literary world where I wouldn’t see them before.”

Writer attending Bristol workshop, 2018

What to expect from the year-long programme

After meeting you at one of our workshops and getting to know you and your work, we will ask ten exceptional writers to join our year-long programme.

These ten writers will bring new and different voices to books and publishing and will have the potential to be commercially successful. 

To be selected for the year-long programme, we'll shortlist writers after each workshop based on the quality of your writing. At this point, we'll ask you to send us your full manuscript (or as much as you've written so far) to be read by Penguin editors. 

Here's what's involved in the year-long programme:

One-to-one support from an editor

Each writer selected to join the year-long programme will be matched with a Penguin editor with expertise and experience in the genre you’re writing.

You will meet with your editor at least six times over the year. We'll make sure that at least three of the meetings with your editor will take place in person at one of our London offices (don't worry, we'll cover travel costs from anywhere in the UK). The other three meetings might be held over the phone. We expect that each meeting will last for about an hour.

Together you and your editor will:

  • Shape and develop your manuscript to make it as strong as it can be. This will include giving you constructive feedback on what's working and where you could improve - on anything from character development, to plot, to pace, to length.
  • Support you to get a publishing deal – either by publishing your book themselves (we’ve bought or ‘acquired’ books from 10 writers so far through WriteNow), or helping you submit your manuscript to literary agents.
  • Giving you confidence in your own voice.
  • Thinking about how your book might sit alongside other published books in the market and recommending other books to read.
  • Sharing insights on your book’s target audience and how to reach them.
  • Giving you experience of writing to deadlines and writing with direction over an extended time period.

Hear from some of the previous writers who have experienced our year-long programme:

Introducing you to the WriteNow community

We'll give you the chance to connect with other writers who have been part of the programme in previous years, including those writing book of the same genre as you.

Membership to the Society of Authors

Every writer on the year-long programme will have access to free membership of the Society of Authors, the UK trade union for writers at every stage of their career, who can offer you impartial advice and support.

Please note applications for WriteNow 2020 are now closed.