Who to follow and where to find opportunities for new writers

Posted by Stacey Sampson and NWN

Find your Regional Literature Development Agency

Literature development agencies support writers and readers based in their geographic areas. They all work in slightly different ways, but in general they offer:

  • writer development opportunities;
  • writing groups, courses and workshops for adults and young people;
  • awards or grants that you can apply for to support your writing;
  • competitions, prizes, literary events and new commissions to showcase talented writers in their region;
  • and reading activity.

Their websites also have a wealth of resources for new and aspiring writers. Your regional agency will be the one that can directly support you, but it’s worth following all of them for more general advice – many of them have mailing lists you can subscribe to for regular updates straight to your inbox.


These sites are all filled with a wide variety of incredible resources and opportunities.

  • Writers & Artists
    The Writers & Artists website has a great writers’ toolkit full of advice from starting out your writing all the way to communicating with agents and getting your work published.
  • Mslexia
    Writing magazine (only accepts submissions from female writers) and the creators of the Indie Press Guide, a unique directory of over 600 indie publishers and literary magazines. Also offers competitions and writing workshops.
  • The Literary Consultancy
    The Literary Consultancy (TLC) offers mentoring and professional feedback to writers at all levels through their manuscript assessment service. Also offers the TLC Free Read to talented low income writers.
  • BBC Writers Room
    Writers Room is a go-to place for everything about writing for TV – Packed with tips, interviews, resources and news of competitions and opportunities from the BBC and across the UK, including numerous development programmes you can apply for with rolling deadlines throughout the year.
  • Northern Ireland Screen
    Offers script development support, along with training and workshop opportunities such as the New Writer Focus scheme.
  • BFI Network and Film Hub
    Run in partnership between independent cinemas in Sheffield and Manchester, the Film Hub North website is full of useful information and the mailing list will keep you informed of opportunities to get involved plus ways to get funding for your projects.
    The British Academy for Film and Television Awards website offers useful tips, events and resources (such as industry insights from BAFTA winning film-makers) plus links to their competitions and development programmes.
  • London Playwright’s Blog
    LPW hosts their own workshops events and services but they also run a fantastic mailing list which collates all the national script writing opportunities for theatre any beyond – do sign up.
  • The Writer’s Compass (NAWE)
    The National Association of Writers in Education have a section on their website called The Writer’s Compass which brings together lots of services, advice and opportunities for writers of all genres.
  • BookTrust
    This is mainly literary focussed but there are tonnes of top tips on how well-known authors approach their work plus great advice on using your own life experiences to get started with story.
  • For Books Sake
    FBS champions women and non-binary writers across all genres – offering affordable workshops, live events and writing retreats.
  • Desi Writers Lounge
    DWL is a platform for aspiring South Asian writers, with a website full of workshops, blogs and chances to connect with other writers.
  • The Asian Writer
    TAW aims to raise the profile of Asian writers and the website features news of successful authors plus opportunities and events for upcoming writers.

Courses and Development Opportunities

  • Channel 4 Screenwriting Course
    Run by Producer Phillip Shelley, this is an industry level training opportunity which supports people to develop their script. Sign up to the mailing list to be kept informed of dates for the next course plus other interesting industry insights.
  • Arvon
    Arvon is a national organisation which runs creative writing courses and retreats across the UK, and online tutored by leading writers. Bursaries are available. Sign up to the mailing list to find out about what’s coming up – Plus other news and opportunities from the writing world.
  • Jerwood Arvon Mentoring Scheme
    Once you’ve attended an Arvon course you’re also eligible for this scheme which offers writers a dedicated 18 month development programme in either fiction, poetry or script.
  • Breakthrough Writers Programme
    Curtis Brown Creative (one of the top talent agencies in the UK) has launched an exciting new programme of creative writing courses, mentoring opportunities and scholarships for under-represented writers – with all opportunities fully funded for the writers taking part.
  • National Youth Film Academy
    Anyone age 16-29 can apply to be an NYFA Member (bursaries available) and gain access to a variety of workshops, talks and networking events which support aspiring actors and filmmakers to break into the film and television industries.
  • BAFTA Breakthrough
    Breakthrough identifies the most exciting new talent coming up in the film, games and television industries and gives them access to unique career development and mentoring opportunities.


  • The Bridport Prize
    Hosts prizes for poetry, novels, short stories and flash fiction. Offers some resources including bursaries for writers.
  • Bristol Short Story Prize
    Short story competition open to published and unpublished writers anywhere in the world.
  • BBC National Short Story Award
    Stories of up to 8000 words accepted – also includes an award strand for young writers.
  • BAFTA Rocliffe
    The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition, which runs twice a year, calls submissions for Film, Television Drama, Children, Family & YA Media, and Television Comedy scripts, with winners receiving a performance of their work by actors plus feedback and advice from an industry panel.
  • Verity Bargate Award
    London’s Soho Theatre hosts this annual playwriting competition with high profile judges like Phoebe Waller Bridge and Russell T Davies. The winning script is given a full production at the theatre.
  • The Womens Prize for Playwriting
    Prize specifically for female identifying writers – Seeking to find the best and bravest new work from writers at any stage of experience with cash prizes and development opportunities.
  • The Alfred Bradley Bursary
    A writing bursary worth £5,000 open to Northern writers new to writing script for radio and offering the chance of a Radio 4 drama commission.
  • Creative Future Writers’ Award
    A national writing competition for under-represented writers with £10,000 worth of cash prizes and development.

These websites all provide lists of upcoming competitions across all genres, and Writers HQ will only feature opportunities which are considered to be accessible to low-income writers.


  • Working Class Writers’ Festival
    The first annual Working Class Writers’ Festival is planned for October 2021 – keep an eye on twitter for more info coming soon –


There are lots of interesting podcasts available to listen and subscribe to – these ones mainly cover film making and script writing, but offer other inspiring info about writing in general.

Take a look at these selections from around the world: