We are looking for 16 new fiction and non-fiction writers and journalists to be part of A Writing Chance 2024-25. Find out more and apply by Monday 8 January 2024

Successful applicants will receive a package of personalised support, consisting of:

  • one-to-one mentoring over 12 months with an experienced writer or editor from one of our partner organisations
  • participation in a writers’ network
  • a residential writing retreat
  • industry insight events
  • a bursary of £2000

This programme runs April 2024-March 2025 and is open to writers from working-class and lower-income backgrounds, aged over 18 and based in the UK.

Applications are now open until 10am, Monday 8 January 2024

Our commitment to you; your commitment to us

Our commitment to you

New Writing North as producers of A Writing Chance will:

  • Provide a diverse programme of development and activity intended to help you to progress as a writer and gain access to the writing industries.
  • Offer committed support and guidance throughout the course of the programme.
  • Assign you an experienced mentor who will provide you with guidance and feedback.
  • Support you to work with your mentor to help you identify and work towards personalised goals during the programme.
  • Provide a £2,000 bursary which you can use to buy time to write.
  • Arrange industry insight days with partners which offer a varied introduction to the writing industries.
  • Communicate clearly regarding programme activity or any programme changes.
  • Be flexible regarding your participation in the programme, understanding and adapting to any additional or emerging needs you may have.
  • Create an access fund to support your full participation in the programme if needed.

What we expect from you

By agreeing to participate in the programme it is our expectation that you will:

  • Commit to developing your work-in-progress over the course of the programme, dedicating sufficient time to planning, writing and editing your work and prioritising the opportunity of this programme.
  • Work with your mentor and New Writing North to create personalised goals which you will endeavour to achieve throughout the course of the programme.
  • Prepare for and attend virtual meetings with your mentor and providing work in good time for their review and preparation
  • Adhere to any writing deadlines agreed on between you and your mentor
  • Attend and engage with the programmed industry insight events and residential writing retreat
  • Engage in additional training and development activities as and when offered.
  • Keep us informed of your progress and development, advising on any issues that may arise or additional support that you may require.
  • Respond in good time to communications from New Writing North, your mentor and others you work with as part of the programme.
  • Participate in the research that is attached to this project, giving time to interviews and written responses when requested.

Ready to apply?

Find out more about who this programme is aimed at and what to expect if you are successful in our FAQs.

Please read our Eligibility and Conditions of Entry before making your application.


How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

We want to ensure that this project reaches the writers that it has been designed to support. Defining class and class background is a complicated undertaking. For this programme we have taken a commonly agreed set of socio-economic background measures to help us to identify as objectively as possible candidates’ class status. We appreciate that those from working-class and lower income backgrounds often face intersecting challenges, including but not limited to ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age and religious beliefs; therefore, we also ask applicants to explain in no more than 150 words how your working-class, lower income or underrepresented background impacts on your ability to pursue a career in writing, noting any intersecting challenges you may face.

Can I apply if I have previously published my writing?

This programme is for new and aspiring writers of any age. We define new and emerging writers as writers who are not yet earning their main income from their writing. You may be presenting your first piece of writing for this opportunity, your work may be beginning to appear online, or you may be building up a writing portfolio alongside other work. You are not eligible if you have published a full-length work with a publisher (such as a novel, memoir, or short story collection), or if you have already achieved paid published work regularly in regional or national news media in print or online. Self-published writers, bloggers and those writing for community, trade or work-related organisations in an unpaid capacity may apply if they meet the eligibility criteria. If you are applying for the Substack strand, you must not currently have more than 10 paid subscribers for your work on this platform.

Can I apply if I have an agent?

This programme is to support new and aspiring writers from underrepresented backgrounds to gain access to the writing industries. If you already have an agent, the understanding is that you already have some degree of access to the writing industries; therefore, we ask that you do not apply.

How old do I have to be to apply?

You must be over the age of 18 by 8th January 2024 in order to apply for A Writing Chance. There is no upper age limit to this programme.

Where do I have to live to apply?

The programme is open to submissions of work written in English by writers of any nationality or descent who at the time of entering are a permanent resident in the UK.

Can I apply for A Writing Chance if I have also applied for other talent programmes run by New Writing North or other writing programmes run by others?

Yes – you are welcome to apply if you have applied to or won another scheme, or any other writing award or programme, so long as you meet the other eligibility criteria.


Which strand of the programme should I enter?

There are three strands of the programme: a fiction strand with Faber & Faber, a journalism strand with The Daily Mirror, and a non-fiction strand with Substack. You should read the descriptions of each strand and decide which one is best suited to you and your writing.

Can I enter more than one strand of the programme?

Yes – however you should apply to each strand separately.

How do I apply?

All entries must be made through our Submittable online portal. We do not accept submissions by email or post. The deadline for applications is 8th January 2024.

What writing can I submit with my application?

Each strand requires that you submit a specific piece of work. For Faber & Faber, we ask that you submit the first ten pages or the first chapter (any length) of your work in progress. This can be fiction of any genre, non-fiction or narrative non-fiction such as memoir or short stories. We do not accept poetry, writing in translation, or children’s writing. For The Daily Mirror, we ask that you submit a 500-word journalistic article on the theme of hope. This can take the form of a feature piece or interview exploring an inspiring or hopeful story or person, or it could be a piece of journalistic writing covering something from your own life which speaks to the theme. For Substack, we ask that you submit 500 words detailing your concept for your Substack newsletter. Your submission should explain why you are interested in your topic, why you are suited to writing it, and why you believe Substack is a fitting platform for you as a writer.

Do I need to write about my experiences of being from a working class, lower income, or underrepresented background?

There is no requirement that you write about your experiences of being from a working-class, lower income or underrepresented background. You can write about any topic or theme that you like, as long as it follows the submission guidelines.

Do I need to have a full manuscript to apply to the programme?

There is no requirement that you have a full manuscript or that you have full drafts of your planned articles or newsletters when you are applying for A Writing Chance. You should, however, have a clear idea of your work in progress and how it will develop and have time, or be able to make time to substantially progress the work over the year of the programme.

Can I submit previously published work for the Faber & Faber strand?

This project is about developing work in progress, so generally speaking, you shouldn’t be submitting work that has previously been published. However, if your work in progress is a collection of short stories, you may submit a short story that has previously been published in a writing magazine/anthology.

How should I format my submission?

If you are applying to the Faber and Faber strand, please double-space your work and use 12-point text. You’re free to choose a font that appeals to you but avoid anything that doesn’t suit the tone of your work. If you are applying to The Daily Mirror or the Substack strand, you can copy your submission directly into the submission box on Submittable.

Can I save my application and come back to it before I submit?

Submittable does save in-progress applications as long as you select “Save Draft” at the bottom of the application. It does not, however, save automatically as you are typing; therefore we advise that you type up your submission in a separate document/space and copy it in rather than writing and editing it directly into the Submittable box.

Do I need to submit a synopsis?

If you are applying to the Faber & Faber strand, you do not need to submit a full synopsis, but we ask that you submit a brief 50-word description of your work-in-progress. This does not need to be a complete description of your work, as we understand that you may not yet be at a point with your work where it is fully written. You can use this space to give the judges an understanding of how your submitted writing sits within the broader piece: for example, you may want to note the genre, setting, general plot, and key characters.

How will my application be assessed?

Our process is as follows:

  1. An internal sift at New Writing North to discount incomplete or ineligible applications.
  2. First round of assessment where all work is read at least twice.
  3. Shortlisting round where work is shortlisted.
  4. Partners decide the final winners from a shortlist.

All submissions at the first stage will be read at least twice by a diverse team of experienced writers and journalists. All personal details and information are removed from the early stages of assessment and is only viewed by New Writing North at the shortlist stage.

When will I know if my application is successful?

The final 16 chosen participants will be announced in April 2024. We will let everyone know the outcome of their application prior to this date.

Programme Practicalities

How much time will I need to commit to the programme?

You will need to commit and be available to attend the programmed elements which include a residential writing week (week of 27th May in Shropshire), industry insight days (in London in June) alongside monthly mentor meetings (1 hour, plus preparation) and regular catch-up meetings with New Writing North. You will also need to consider the writing time that you will need to give during the year and ensure that you are able to dedicate the time needed to provide work in time for mentors and to achieve the aims of the project.

What if I have a job or caring commitments that will make participation difficult?

We want all writers to be able to benefit from all elements of the programme and will work with you to see if we can remove barriers or work in other ways to support your full involvement in the programme. We have an access fund attached to the project to support a broad spectrum of needs.

Will I need internet access to participate?

Some elements of the programme will take place online, such as the monthly mentoring meetings and the optional training and writer development programmes. We will also communicate with you via email. If you are accepted onto the programme and have concerns surrounding internet access, please reach out to us, as we have an access fund that can help support you in this area.

When will the key events of the programme be?

The winning writers will start the programme in April 2024, and the programme will run over 12 months. The residential writing retreat with Arvon will be the week of 27th of May 2024, and the industry insight events will run in June 2024. The celebratory event will be held towards the end of the programme, in the spring of 2025. If you are chosen for the programme, we will share a full timetable of the activities with you.

Where is the residential writing retreat and what will be involved?

The residential writing retreat will be hosted by Arvon and will run in May 2024. You will stay at The Hurst, a 19th-century house and gardens located in the Shropshire Hills. The retreat will run Monday to Saturday, and will give you the opportunity to meet your cohort, learn from knowledgeable Arvon tutors, and dedicate time to your writing. Arvon retreats generally consist of writing workshops in the mornings Tuesday-Friday, with time for writing and one-on-one tutorials with Arvon tutors in the afternoons. Wednesday evening will feature a guest tutor, and Fridays will consist of a sharing session where you will have the opportunity to share your writing with your cohort and tutors and receive feedback. Travel and accommodation for the residential will be fully covered by A Writing Chance, and all food will be included. The Hurst is located a ten minutes’ drive from Craven Arms train station, and the house is fully accessible to wheelchair users. Find out more about the Hurst and view the Hurst House tour by clicking here:

How will the mentoring process work?

As part of the programme, you will be assigned a mentor from either Faber & Faber, The Daily Mirror, or Substack, depending on which strand you applied for. Your mentor will help you to develop personalised goals that you wish to achieve during the programme. They will advise on professional development and provide feedback on parts of your work in progress. You will meet with your mentor virtually once a month, and you will have the opportunity to meet them in person at the industry insight events and/or the celebratory event at the close of the programme. You must meet all of the deadlines that you agree with your mentor for providing them with work to read in advance as they are all working professionals.

Will I be expected to speak in public or speak to the press?

Opportunities may arise in which you may be offered the chance to speak in public or speak to the press about your experience with the programme. This is not, however, a requirement of the programme, and would be completely optional. We plan to hold celebratory events to promote the participants to industry and these may include live readings or discussions. We will work with you all individually to support you with this, or look at other ways to work if public events aren’t possible for you.

What accessibility accommodations can be made to support writers during the programme?

We want to ensure that A Writing Chance is accessible to all. The programme is designed to be responsive and adaptive to your individual needs and should you be selected, we will work with you to explore your needs and look to put in place the best support that we can so that you can fully participate in the programme. We also have an access fund to cover any additional financial costs that may arise in relation to your participation in the programme. If you have specific questions about this, please feel free to email New Writing North with an enquiry.

What if I don’t complete my manuscript/articles/Substack newsletters by the end of the programme?

The concept of the programme is that you spend the year developing your work in progress, writing journalistic articles, or writing your Substack newsletters (depending on which strand you apply for). You will work with your mentor and New Writing North to develop personalised goals that you wish to achieve during the programme, with the intention that you will make progress on these goals over the year. However, there is no strict requirement that you must be at a certain point at your writing at the end of the programme, and these goals can be honed and adapted as you progress.

Bursary and Finances

How and when will my bursary be paid to me?

Half of the bursary money will be paid to you at the start of the programme (April 2024). The remaining will be paid in staged payments over the course of the programme in September and January (2025).

What can I use my bursary money for?

The £2,000 bursary is there to cover the time that you need to devote to the programme. You are able to use it at your own discretion.

Will I have to pay for travel/accommodation to the industry insight events and the residential writing retreat?

All travel and accommodation costs involved in attending the industry events and the residential writing retreat will be covered by A Writing Chance. There will also be an access fund to cover any other costs that may arise in relation to your participation in the programme – for example, if you need to hire childcare whilst attending an event. We can also pre-pay or directly book travel and accommodation to avoid out of pocket expenses for participants.

Privacy and data

Will I retain copyright to the writing that I submit?

Yes. By submitting work for the programme, you are agreeing to it being read by sifters, judges and staff working within A Writing Chance. The copyright of your work stays with you at all times and A Writing Chance does not exert or ask for any rights over your work at any point in the process.

Why do you ask for personal information?

We understand that some of the questions on the application form are detailed and personal. We want to ensure that this project reaches the writers that it has been designed to support, and these questions help us to check that applicants are eligible. We also ask optional evaluation research questions which are not part of the application process. They will in no way impact your application. Please see here for more information on how we may use your application data.

Each year we produce de-personalised statistical information on our programmes, which we report to Arts Council England, our funders. We look at entries by gender, ethnicity, geography and age. Undertaking this work helps us to see if we need to work harder to attract entries from any underrepresented groups or locations. No personal data is included in the reporting or used in any other way during this process.