Islington writers urged to apply for awards representing ‘underserved communities’

Islington resident Christina Care was one of the London Writers Awards winners in 2020. Picture:

Islington resident Christina Care was one of the London Writers Awards winners in 2020. Picture: FLYINGPADRE - Credit: Archant

Islington writers have been encouraged to enter the London Writers Awards 2021.

The free application process for Spread the Word’s annual development programme is open until September 30 for writers of colour, from working class backgrounds, in the LGBTQIA+ community or with a disability.

Thirty successful awardees are offered an intensive programme of development from January to October next year, which includes networking with agents and publishers.

READ MORE: Elderly writing group on Islington estate adjusting to life in coronavirus lockdownSince its launch in 2018, the programme has helped 60 writers, 22 per cent of whom had no previous writing support.

Islington resident Christina Care was one of the award winners in 2020.

Author and 2021 judge Season Butler said: “For writers from underserved communities and marginalised identities, and readers wishing to encounter the full richness of the world in literature, we all have something to win through this award.”

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Ellah Wakatama, editor and 2021 judge, added: “The London Writers Awards promise to take us beyond mere ‘conversation’ about increasing the range of writers from outside the mainstream who make it to publication.

“With a focus on identifying, developing and rewarding excellence, the long-view taken by the awards is an approach the entire industry could learn from.”

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The awards are judged by a panel of authors and publishing industry professionals, which this year includes Michael Donkor, Season Butler, Ayisha Malik, Samantha Baines, Luke Turner, Ellah Wakatama, Ludo Cinelli, Katherine Armstrong, Lauren Gardner and Angelique Tran Van Sang.

One of the 2020 winners, Denise Rawls, said: “When I started the awards I did not feel like a writer, would never have called myself a writer and didn’t think my stories were needed or valued.

“I don’t think that anymore. I call myself a writer, I feel confident in what I have to contribute creatively and that my stories have a place in society.”

The 2021 awards will focus on four genres: literary, commercial and young adult/children’s fiction, and narrative non-fiction.

It is supported by Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, with sponsorship from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.

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