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Penguin Random House UK is looking for BAME talent

TALENT: Penguin Random House UK is looking for emerging writers from marginalised communities

PENGUIN RANDOM House UK has opened applications for its year-long WriteNow mentoring programme in a bid to discover and develop new writing talent from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves.

WriteNow was created in 2016 to help ensure books and publishing better reflect UK society. It aims to find unpublished voices that are currently under-represented in books across all genres, including Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s. This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) writers, or writers with a disability.

The programme offers 150 aspiring writers access to free regional events in London, Bristol and Newcastle where they will get one-to-one time with editors to receive expert, personalised feedback on their book, alongside access to literary agents and published authors, including Elif Shafak, Kit de Waal, Afua Hirsch and Fox Fisher.

Penguin Random House editors will work with 10 of the most promising writers over 12 months to make their manuscripts the best they can be, with the ultimate ambition of publishing these new writers.

MENTORING PROGRAMME: Attendees from 2016's WriteNow

The publishing house is partnering with regional writer development charities Spread the Word, Literature Works and New Writing North to launch WriteNow 2017.

Kit de Waal, author of My Name is Leon and mentor for WriteNow 2017, said: “I’m thrilled to be involved in WriteNow again for 2017. WriteNow reaches out beyond the usual channels and has already discovered some exciting new voices. The invitation to under-represented writers is extended again and I can’t wait to meet the new applicants. It’s never been more important to be open-armed.”

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, commented: “We are determined to publish a wider range of voices and books to more fully reflect the diverse society we live in.

“Books and reading can make an enormous difference to people’s lives, expanding our imaginations and empathy and helping us make sense of different perspectives.

“As the UK’s number one publisher, our job is to tell the stories which aren’t often told. That’s why with WriteNow we are taking our teams outside of London and into communities to meet and mentor aspiring authors. We want to find and bring to life writing that connects with all readers, bringing the best new under-represented voices to bookshelves.”

Alongside launching WriteNow 2017, Penguin Random House has set itself a company-wide goal to ensure its new hires and the books it acquires reflect UK society by 2025, in terms of social mobility, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexuality. The publisher wants to see a positive shift towards this goal every year through to 2025.

Applications for WriteNow 2017 open on June 13.

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