New Project

The London Writers Awards

The London Writers Awards  is  Spread the Word’s annual development programme for talented London writers. The aim of the Awards is to increase the number of writers from under-represented communities being taken up by agents and publishers. To make the step change from unpublished writers to being agented, writers need good sustained professional input and quality feedback to produce work that will be published. The London Writers Awards offer this opportunity. 

The 2019 Awards focus on four genres of prose writing: literary fiction (including short stories), commercial fiction (for e.g.: crime, science fiction, romance), narrative non-fiction and YA/children’s (including middle grade and Young Adult fiction, excludes picture books) 

The Awards run from September to May each year. They are free to participate in. Bursaries are available for writers in need and there is an Access Fund for disabled writers.   


The Awards are focused on supporting 30 London-based writers of colour and working class, LGBTQ+ and disabled writers each year.   

Writers are selected through a free and open application process. The programme is for writers who are committed to developing their work, their craft and their career.  

Author judges for the 2019 Awards are: Abir MukherjeeSaieda Rouass, Kate DaviesDanielle Jawando and Derek Owusu. The industry judges are: Elise Dillsworth (independent literary agent),  Emma Finn (literary agent at Conville and Walsh) Katie Brown (commissioning editor for fiction at Trapeze, an Orion Publishing Group imprint), Philippa Milnes-Smith (managing director and agent for children’s and YA, The Soho Agency) and Rupert Lancaster (non-fiction publisher at Hodder & Stoughton).  


Awardees become part of a critical feedback group meeting twice a month. Critical feedback groups are a proven way to take writing forward, and participants will receive feedback on their work at least four times, as well as getting 1-2-1 professional development sessions.  

Writers will participate in craft masterclasses run by professional, aspirational writers, and career masterclasses run by industry speakers and experts. The career masterclasses will help Awardees to build industry and business knowledge and gain practical skills.  

Awardees take part in two WritersLabs. The first WritersLab is an opportunity for writers get to know their peers; ask questions about the programme; be introduced to the critical feedback model through their group facilitator; meet and hear from the Judges and about the current publishing landscape and trends.  

The second WritersLab is where writers will get to network with invited editors, publishers and agents.  

All Awards activity will take place at venues with good transport links and full accessibility.  


Applications were open in May 2019. They will reopen in May 2020. 


If you are a publisher, agent or professional writer and interested in finding out more about becoming a supporter, partner or patron to the London Writers Awards, please contact Bobby Nayyar at Spread the Word: 

The Awards is financially supported by Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and sponsored by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. 

Partners are: 
Independent Publishers Guild
The Society of Authors, 
Knights Of, 
Diamond, Kahn & Woods Literary Agency, 
Burning Eye Books,
Conville and Walsh
The Soho Agency
Hodder and Stoughton
Trapeze / Orion Publishing and 
The Elise Dillsworth Literary Agency


Alex Falase-Koya

YA/Children’s 2018

Alexis Rigg

YA/Children’s 2018

Anne Chen

YA/Children’s 2018

Annie Hayter

Poetry 2018

Arun Das

Bunmi Ogunsiji

Narrative Non-Fiction 2018

Chris Simpson

Commercial Fiction 2018

Elaine Williams

Narrative Non-Fiction 2018

‘There’s a lot of talk in publishing circles these days about inclusivity and the need for a diversity of published voices. However, these calls often ignore the structural factors which hold back writers from minorities and other under-represented communities: factors ranging from a lack of financial support to an unfamiliarity with how the industry operates. In such an environment, the London Writers Awards aim to make a concrete difference, nurturing raw talent and helping writers through mentoring, masterclasses and financial support where necessary. I’m proud to be involved with such a worthwhile endeavour.’



T 020 8692 0231 (ext 249)