Frequently Asked Questions

How has WriteNow changed in 2021?

Why are you only accepting children's book applications this year?

By splitting the programme this way we are hoping to engage more writers of books for children, and to better support them with a tailored workshop and editorial programme. We we will be returning with WriteNow in 2022 focusing on writers of fiction and non-fiction for adults and young adults.

I am writing a book for young adults / a book for adults. When will I be able to apply?

We will open applications for young adult and adult fiction and non-fiction in Spring 2022.

How are Ladybird, Puffin and Penguin connected?

Ladybird, Puffin and Penguin are all imprints under Penguin Random House UK.

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 Black, Asian or 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 if you are shortlisted for the year-long editorial programme we will ask for everything that you’ve written so far – for some that may be a complete manuscript, but for others it may be a few more thousand words.

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 are shortlisted, you will receive personalised feedback on your work from one of our editors. We will ask you to send us everything that you've written so far at this point. 

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.

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, or been published in digital or e-book format only. 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

Why is there no space to upload illustrations on the application form?

We are assessing based on quality of writing, and therefore do not expect to see illustrations. However, if you feel that illustrations help provide context to your application, please get in touch with the WriteNow team and we can discuss further. 

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. 

If you are not redirected to the 'Thank You' page, please email us at writenow@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk 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 writenow@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Can I apply if I’m already supported by Spread the Word?

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

How are Ladybird, Puffin, and Penguin connected?

Ladybird and Puffin are publishing imprints under Penguin Random House Children's UK.

Is a publishing contract guaranteed if I’m one of the 5 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. We aim for every writer on the editorial programme to graduate with either a literary agent, a publishing deal with us, or a publishing dealing with another book publisher.

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 Puffin or Ladybird? 

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 WriteNow@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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