Inaugural London Writers Awards announced

News - Books Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Thirty writers selected for Spread the Word's diversity initiative

Spread the Word, London's writer development agency, has announced the 30 winners of the inaugural London Writers Awards. The awards aim to increase the number of London-based writers of colour, as well as working class, LGBTQ-plus and disabled writers, signed up by agents and publishers.

The winners will take part in a nine-month development programme with masterclasses led by authors including Adam Kay, Catherine Johnson, Claire McGowan and Romesh Gunsekera. There will also be career-focused sesssions with awards partners the Independent Publishers Guild, the Society of Authors, Knights Of, Burning Eye Books, Diamond, Kahn & Woods Literary Agency, and Bookouture. There will be a showcase event on 23 May 2019.

Helen Bowell, Jamie Hale, Annie Hayter, Lily Paine, Merrie Joy Williams, Jemilea Wisdom-Baako.

Literary fiction
Koyer Ahmed, Tice Cin, Sofia Fara, Sara Jafari, Kira McPherson, Riley Rockford.

Commercial fiction
Saskia Alais, Arun Das, Nina Duttaroy, Iqbal Hussain, Esther Poyer, Chris Simpson.

Narrative Non-fiction
Marta Bausells, Gavino di Vino, Stacey Ng, Bunmi Ogunsiji, Elaine Williams, Stephen Wrench.

Anne Chen, Alex Falase-Koya, Sahar Halaimzai, Priscilla Mante, Alexis Rigg, Lui Sit.

Rishi Dastidar, chair of trustees at Spread the Word, said: "The 30 people who make up the inaugural cohort of the London Writers Awards are a true reflection of London, in terms of their diverse backgrounds, their life experiences - their stories so far - and most importantly, their undisputed talent. Across all the categories, the programme has shown it is more than possible to find writers who come from backgrounds not yet fully represented by the publishing industry, and who deserve the chance to have their voices heard. It is reminder that the future of important British, indeed, international writing can be found right here in this city."

Eight authors have received bursaries and access funds. The awards are supported by Arts Council England, with sponsorship from the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

ALCS deputy chief executive Barbara Hayes said: "The London Writers Awards are a great occasion to celebrate and help cultivate the talents of under-represented writers in London. ALCS is proud to sponsor a programme that provides creative opportunities to writers who otherwise may not have had the chance to flourish."

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