A Writing Chance

A Writing Chance aims to open access to the writing industries for new and aspiring writers from working-class and lower-income backgrounds and for those who face barriers due to intersecting challenges, including but not limited to ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age and religious beliefs.

Join our movement for change

  • We offer career-changing opportunities to participants on A Writing Chance
  • We provide free resources, courses, industry insight and networking opportunities
  • We influence policy to make change and are an advocate for access within the writing industries.

Meet the 16 new fiction and non-fiction writers and journalists who are part of A Writing Chance 2024-25.

Find out more

A Writing Chance was co-founded in 2021 by the actor and philanthropist Michael Sheen, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, New Writing North and Northumbria University.

A Writing Chance 2024–25 is produced by New Writing North in partnership with Faber & Faber, the Daily Mirror and Substack, with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Mab Gwalia – Michael Sheen’s charitable fund – and Arts Council England, and with support from audio sponsor Audible. The programme is supported by research from Northumbria University and Bath Spa University, funded by AHRC.

The 16 chosen participant writers will each receive a £2,000 bursary supported by a grant from the Charlotte Aitken Trust.

Why do we need this positive intervention?  

All talented writers should be able to access opportunities to develop their work, regardless of their background. We all benefit from reading a wider range of voices in our national media and culture.

Yet, data shows us that, despite the efforts of many, the publishing and media industries continue to provide entry points that favour those from more privileged

backgrounds. Factors such as a reliance on informal networks and personal contacts; low starting salaries; and often a requirement to be based in London mean that barriers to success for those from working-class and other traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are disproportionate compared to other industries.

This is why we need cross-industry intervention.

Read more about who gets to write in our publishing and media industries

Margins to Mainstream podcast

Our 2021 cohort told their own stories on Michael Sheen’s BBC Sounds podcast, Margins to Mainstream.

Listen here

Read more about A Writing Chance 2021


We are making change and influencing policy thanks to the research attached to this programme. Professor Katy Shaw’s 4* research into the first year of A Writing Chance has revealed how some of these barriers impact on new and aspiring writers, and how the publishing and media industries can level the playing field.

Read more about our research