We’re thrilled to announce that New Writing North is partnering with Penguin Random House UK to launch WriteNow – a nationwide campaign to find and develop talented new writers from under-represented communities.

WriteNow was created in 2016 to help ensure books and publishing better reflect UK society. It aims to find unpublished voices that are currently under-represented in books across all genres, including Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s. This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) writers, or writers with a disability.

The programme offers 150 aspiring writers access to free regional events in London, Bristol and Newcastle where they will get one-to-one time with editors to receive expert, personalised feedback on their book, alongside access to literary agents and published authors, including Elif Shafak, Kit de Waal, Afua Hirsch and Fox Fisher.

Penguin Random House editors will work with 10 of the most promising writers over 12 months to make their manuscripts the best they can be, with the ultimate ambition of publishing these new writers.

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“We are determined to publish a wider range of voices and books to more fully reflect the diverse society we live in.

“Books and reading can make an enormous difference to people’s lives, expanding our imaginations and empathy and helping us make sense of different perspectives.

“As the UK’s number one publisher, our job is to tell the stories which aren’t often told. That’s why with WriteNow we are taking our teams outside of London and into communities to meet and mentor aspiring authors. We want to find and bring to life writing that connects with all readers, bringing the best new under-represented voices to bookshelves.”

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK

“The opportunity to meet a lot of people in the industry was like being able to step behind a velvet rope at a nightclub that that you’ve been desperate to get into for years and years. And actually, when you get there, you see that everyone is like you and has the same hopes and dreams and ambitions. To any writers thinking about applying for WriteNow, I would say stop thinking and start writing.”

Charlene Allcott, one of the twelve writers selected to take part in the first mentoring programme

“WriteNow was a great opportunity for marginalised writers to be in a room with their peers, writers they respect and editors willing to offer them feedback. Sometimes this is all you need to show you that you can be a writer and you deserve success – being in the room. Well done WriteNow for inviting people into the room.”

Nikesh Shukla, author of The Good Immigrant

“New Writing North is delighted to be working on WriteNow and that this pioneering and important project is coming to the North East. With Penguin Random House we share a mission to ensure that British writing is representative, inclusive and diverse.”

Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive, New Writing North

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WriteNow Newcastle takes place on Saturday 23 September. Applications for WriteNow 2017 are now open and close on Sunday 16 July.