Terms and Conditions

1.         By applying for the WriteNow Workshops and Editorial Programme (the “WriteNow Programme”), each applicant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions (Terms and Conditions).  

2.         The WriteNow Programme is open to all writers aged 18 years or over and who is a resident of the UK and the Republic of Ireland (Applicant), except for the permanent employees (including their families) of The Penguin Random House Group Limited or associated companies of the Penguin Random House group (Publisher).

3.         This opportunity is only open to writers who come from backgrounds which are currently deemed under-represented in the publishing industry.  This will be self-defined by Applicant as part of the application process and assessed by the writer development charity “Spread the Word” (www.spreadtheword.org.uk) together with Publisher’s Human Resources department.  This will likely include writers of Black, Asian, and other Minority Ethnic heritage, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, writers who have a disability and writers who come from a socio-economically disadvantaged background.


4.         There is no fee for applying for the WriteNow Programme.  The application window opens on Wednesday 2nd June 2021 and the closing date for the submission and receipt of all applications is 23.59 BST on Sunday 11th July 2021 (Closing Date).

5.         Applicant must:

                         i.            complete all sections of the application form on the WriteNow Website at https://www.penguin.co.uk/company/creative-responsibility/writenow.html and review the WriteNow Applicant Privacy Notice at Penguin Privacy Policy

                       ii.            submit through the Penguin website, at www.penguin.co.uk, an extract of up to five thousand (5,000) words from any part of their book in the English language, and a synopsis of the work in the English language of no more than two hundred and fifty (250) words for the WriteNow Programme (Submission).  

6.         Applicants who have previously attended a workshop, roadshow or mentoring or editorial programme as part of any WriteNow Programme as run by Publisher are not eligible to apply for this WriteNow Programme.

7.         All Submissions must be the original work of the Applicant.  If Applicant is unable to produce its Submission without third party assistance, the Applicant must fully disclose the nature (including name of the third party) and extent of that assistance.  

8.         Subject to the following, Submissions must be previously unpublished works of fiction or non-fiction, on any subject or genre, aimed at children aged between 2 – 12 years old (“picture books”, “chapter books” and “middle grade books”).  Applicant must not be currently represented by a literary agent nor have previously written a novel published under a valid ISBN.  The exception to this is where Applicant has either been published: (i) as part of an anthology; (ii) by a non-for-profit publisher; (iii) over ten (10) years ago; (v) via self-publishing; and/or (vi) published in digital/e-book format only.

9.         Submissions received after the Closing Date will not be considered.  Publisher is not responsible for illegible, incomplete, delayed, corrupted, malfunctioning, unreadable or lost Submissions.  Submissions sent by email, post or any other format or medium other than via the WriteNow Website will not be accepted.  Applicant should only submit copies of their work and should keep backups for their own files.


10.     By applying for the WriteNow Programme, Applicant warrants that all information submitted as part of its application and Submission is true (with the exception of any fictional written Submissions), current and complete.

WriteNow Workshops

11.     All interested Applicants considered to have made a serious and valid Submission with be invited to attend an online workshop on Saturday 4th September 2021 (Online Workshop).

WriteNow Editorial Programme

12.     All valid Submissions will be assessed by an initial judging panel (Initial Panel) made up of individuals with publishing expertise within Publisher’s organisation.  The Initial Panel will select a short list of up to fifty (50) Submissions (Shortlisted Applicants), who shall be invited to submit the rest of their manuscript.  In determining the Shortlisted Applicants, the Initial Panel will evaluate various aspects of the Submission including: the potential for the writing to become the basis of a publication, the quality of writing, the originality of concept behind the writing and the commerciality of the writing.

13.     Shortlisted Applicants shall be notified by email by Friday 13th August 2021.  Shortlisted Applicants must respond to accept or decline the invitation to submit the rest of their manuscript by Wednesday 8th September 2021.   After this date, the invitation will expire and Publisher reserves the right to offer the invitation to a substitute Applicant selected in accordance with these rules.

14.     Publisher regrets that it will not be able to give feedback on individual entries (other than that to be provided to the successful applicants at subsequent assessment stages or during subsequent mentoring sessions).

15.     All decisions of the Initial Panel are final and not subject to appeal.

16.     In the month following the Online Workshop, Shortlisted Applicants shall receive a twenty (20) minute one-to-one session with one of Publisher’s editors who will discuss and provide feedback as regards the Shortlisted Applicant’s Submission. 

17.     Following the one-to-one sessions the Shortlisted Applicants will be assessed by a further judging panel (Further Panel) made up of individuals with publishing expertise for writer applicants, who will select up to five (05) of the Shortlisted Applicants (Winning Applicants) for an opportunity to participate in an “Editorial Programme”.  Winning Applicants will be notified by Friday 15th October 2021.

For the avoidance of doubt, Publisher is under no obligation to select the maximum number of Winning Applicants (i.e. five) if it is felt that not enough of the Submissions are of a sufficient quality.

18.     All decisions of the Further Panel are final and will not be subject to appeal.

19.     For the avoidance of doubt, the editorial opportunity shall not be interpreted as a representation or commitment to publish any works of the Winning Applicants.  Notwithstanding this, Winning Applicants agree that should they accept any offer to be mentored by Publisher under the WriteNow Programme, they will extend to Publisher the first option of publishing their first work of fiction/non-fiction on fair and reasonable market terms to be agreed in good faith.

20.     Other than those specified above or in the information relating to the WriteNow Programme contained on the WriteNow website, Publisher shall not be liable for any costs or expenses arising out of or in any way connected with Applicant’s participation in the WriteNow Programme and does not accept any responsibility for any damage (excluding personal injury or death as a result of Publisher’s negligence), loss or disappointment suffered by any Applicant as result of accepting and/or attending either: (i) a workshop; or (ii) any subsequent participation in the WriteNow Editorial Programme.

21.     None of the elements of this opportunity may be transferred by Winning Applicants and no alternative (cash or otherwise) will be available or offered.

22.     By applying for the WriteNow Programme, Applicant confirms that: (i) his/her/their Submission is an original, wholly-owned, creation and makes no use of any third party materials or intellectual property rights; (ii) no deliberate attempt has been made to base any fictional characters in the Submission upon any individual, living or dead; and (iii) the Submission contains nothing that is illegal, obscene, discriminatory or of a defamatory nature.  Applicant will keep Publisher harmless from any claims that their submitted materials infringe the personal or proprietary right of any other person.

23.     The copyright in any Submission shall remain vested in the Applicant.  In consideration for Publisher agreeing to consider Applicant for the WriteNow Programme, each Applicant grants Publisher a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to reproduce, distribute and/or make available the Submission or illustrations in whole or in part: (i) as part of the Initial Panel and/or Further Panel’s adjudication processes; and (ii) in promotional, marketing or reporting materials (whether print or electronic) relating to the WriteNow Programme.

24.     Events may occur that render the WriteNow Programme impossible to fulfil due to reasons beyond the control of Publisher.  Should those events occur Publisher may, at its absolute discretion, vary, amend, suspend or cancel the WriteNow Programme and shall provide notice to all applicants of proposed variations, amendments, suspensions or cancellations.

25.     Publisher may disqualify an Applicant in the following circumstances: (i) Publisher has reasonable grounds to believe Submission does not comply with these Terms and Conditions; (ii) Publisher has reasonable grounds to believe the actions of the Applicant are fraudulent, dishonest, criminal or unjust to other Applicants; and (iii) the Applicant fails to participate in either the Online Workshop or the one-to-one mentoring stage of the WriteNow Programme.

26.     These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of England and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

27.     Publisher Contact:

WriteNow Programme Manager: Louisa Burden-Garabedian

Email: writenow@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

Post: Louisa Burden-Garabedian, WriteNow – The Random House Group Limited of 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA.

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