Write Now Live Initiative by Penguin Random House for BAME, LGBTQ and Disabled Writers
Report from Leela Soma October 1st 2016
I was privileged to be selected by Write Now, one of the world’s largest publishing houses, for their mentorship programme for BAME, LGBTQ and Disabled Writers. Fifty people were selected out of a thousand applicants for their London event. They have two more days in Birmingham and Manchester. From the one hundred and fifty applicants initially selected, ten will be chosen to go on Write Now’s mentorship programme. There is also the possibility of a publishing contract at the end of this selection procedure in February 2017.
I am writing this as I hope other writers will think of applying next year. It was a wonderfully inspiring, informative day with plenty of opportunity to network with the Penguin Random House team, published authors and agents. We met in Write Now’s plush offices at 80, The Strand at 12 pm and after a lunch of sandwiches and coffee that gave us time to mingle and introduce ourselves, we were given an extremely informative talk from the Penguin team on ‘Publishing Demystified.’
This was followed by a panel of authors, including Kit De Waal, Nikesh Shukla, Abir Mukerjee, Satnam Sangera and Matthew Todd, discussing how they got published. After a short break we were asked for our own views on what steps need to be taken by the industry to encourage BAME and LBQT writers to submit their work. Ideas flowed regarding how there could be more diverse books representing all sections of society. This included class, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexual proclivities and it was agreed that this should be the future aim for the publishing industry at large.
It was a thoroughly worthwhile day ending with the all-important One-to-One session with one of their editors going over the 6000 word manuscript each applicant had been required to submit. The day ended with participants receiving a goody bag of exceptionally wonderful books to take home.
I would encourage writers to look out for this or similar initiatives as the book publishing industry appears to be growing in awareness regarding the need for inclusivity.
Leela Soma, October, 2016
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