Over 250 writers responded to Spotlight Books' open call
Six under-represented writers have been selected for publication next year as part of Spotlight Books, an Arts Council England-supported collaboration between independent publisher Myriad Editions and two arts organisations, Creative Future and New Writing South. Spotlight Books is an initiative set up by Creative Future to discover, guide and support marginalised and underrepresented writers throughout the UK. Over 250 writers responded to the open call for 10,000 words of prose (fiction and literary nonfiction) or up to 40 pages of poetry.
Six writers have been selected to receive one-to-one mentoring from New Writing South in preparation for editing and publication by Myriad in 2020. They are: Georgina Aboud, Tara Gould, Jacqueline Peta Haskell, Elizabeth Ridout, Ana Tewson-Bozic and Sarah Windebank.
Matt Freidson, Creative Future's development manager, said: "Our aim was to spotlight new talent that might otherwise not be recognised by mainstream agencies and publishers. Many writers who feel they lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, identity or other social circumstance find it difficult to develop the professional skills they needs. They frequently lack a traditional career path and are unable to access the peer support networks they need to sustain their writing careers."
Lesley Wood, New Writing South's director, said: "Each of our three organisations is dedicated to specific aspects of writer development and together we are able to reach out to diverse writers and offer them a clear ladder of support, from mentorship through to development editing and promotional opportunities. Spotlight is more than a series of books: it is a programme of wrap-around support that will help diverse writers create a lasting legacy."
Candida Lacey, publishing director of Myriad, said: "We were delighted by the quality of the work we received and look forward to introducing three novellas and three books of poetry early next year. Each introduces a distinctive and exciting new literary voice. The books include a lyrical exploration of post-natal depression, a contemporary comedy of manners in the acting world and an experimental novella of madness. These are not only treasures in themselves but also beacons to other underrepresented writers."
Myriad has commissioned Anna Morrison to create the series design and will launch all six pocket-size books in January and February 2020, accompanied by author readings at bookshops, libraries and community centres throughout Sussex.