Claire von Schilling
Penguin Random House, Executive Vice President Corporate Communications
Phone: + 1 212 782 98 76
Country: Great Britain
Penguin Random House UK launched its WriteNow campaign with a view to making books and publishing more inclusive. In summer 2016, British publishing group has sought new writers from marginalized communities that are also currently under-represented on Britain's bookshelves. This includes writers from socio-economically marginalized backgrounds, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) communities, as well as writers with a disability. Now Penguin Random House UK has announced the first twelve WriteNow participants. Each of these exceptional writers will be paired with a mentoring editor from Penguin Random House with experience and expertise in their genre for a year – at the end of which, ideally, they will publish a book.
Over 2,000 writers applied for WriteNow last year, of whom 150 were invited to attend regional events in London, Birmingham and Manchester where they heard from editors, literary agents and authors including Kit de Waal, Jonathan Coe and Malorie Blackman.
The twelve writers announced today were selected from that group based on the quality of their writing. They are Emma-Jane Smith Barton, Benjamin G. Wilson, Nazneen Ahmed, Charlene Allcott, Nelson Abbey, Geraldine Quigley, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Rebecca Pizzey, Emma Morgan, Manjeet Mann, Katie Hale and one writer with a disability who prefers to keep her identity anonymous. Penguin Random House developed WriteNow in partnership with writer development charities Spread the Word (London), Writing West Midlands (Birmingham) and Commonword (Manchester).
Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, says: "Books play a unique role in society. They spark conversations and bring people together through new ideas and perspectives. Our role is to seek out voices that speak to all of society and make sure those books and stories are for everyone." He goes on to explain that this is why programs like WriteNow are so important. "My proudest moment last year was attending WriteNow in Birmingham and I am really excited that we have the opportunity to work with these talented writers over the next year," says the publisher
Mainga Bhima, Editor and "WriteNow" Mentor at Penguin Random House UK, agrees, saying: "We're thrilled to be able to work with this group of exceptional writers, each with a distinct voice and a brilliant story to tell. The industry and our audiences need stories that reflect the multitude of experiences within our communities." She adds that their job is now to help the young writers refine their manuscripts and position their books in the market."