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Now Open for Applications

Delivering a Wales where literature empowers, improves and brightens lives.
Literature Wales is pleased to announce that our first ever Professional Development Programme for Writers of Colour based in Wales is now open for applications.
The deadline for applications is 5:00 pm on Friday 4 December 2020

 

What is the programme?

This is a new programme to support writers of colour based in Wales to develop their writing as well as their knowledge of the literature and publishing scene.

We want to help writers of colour reach their long-term writing ambitions, which could include perfecting work-in-progress, finding an agent, getting published, performing to a bigger audience, experimenting with new genres, or facilitating a series of community workshops.

The year-long programme includes cash funding of £2,450 to help writers take time out to write, attend sessions and to support travel expenses. At the beginning of the programme, a mentor will be selected for each writer to offer support throughout the journey. The main programme will include one-to-one mentoring, workshops and talks, as well as opportunities to network, make new contacts and build relationships with other writers. During the year there will be opportunities to meet experts in the literature and publishing industry in Wales and beyond. The aim of the programme is to help each writer develop their own literary potential. 12 spaces are available for writers.

 

Who is it for?

This opportunity is open to writers of colour over the age of 18 who are currently living in Wales. Writers working in a variety of literary forms can apply. As well as novels, poetry and short stories, these forms can also include scripts, live and/or digital performance, graphic novels and writing for children.

Applicants may be new to the world of writing, or may have just started on their journey and need support to reach the next level. They may be fairly established already as a writer but find that there are barriers to reach their full potential, or they may want to experiment with a different literary form or language.

Applications are open to writers working through the medium of Welsh, English, or any of Wales’ other languages, although we can only assess initial applications in Welsh or English. Writers who are not currently fluent in Welsh but are looking for an opportunity to improve their written and creative skills in Welsh can also apply and will be supported in this programme.

 

Why are we running this programme?

We know that the voices of people of colour are under-represented in the literary culture of Wales. When people can’t see themselves in what they read or hear they are far less likely to identify with the literature around them, to see value in creative writing, to feel part of the writing community, or to feel they can build a successful career as a writer.

At Literature Wales, we are committed to developing literature as an art-form that is inclusive and works for everyone in Wales. We will work intensely with the selected writers to address barriers and aim to achieve better equality, diversity, and inclusion in the literature sector in Wales. We also expect to learn a lot during the programme and will continuously listen to feedback and reflect on guidance from our partners and programme participants. After the 12-month programme, we will continue to work with the cohort and with other partners to make sure that they are able to receive the support and advice they need to reach their goals.

This Programme is funded by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales.

A note on terminology

We recognise that terminology to do with race is changing and evolving, and that different individuals and communities will have different views and preference on terms. For this programme, Literature Wales have decided on the term “writers of colour” following a consultation process. During the process of developing and running this programme we as an organisation hope to learn more about the under-represented voices and communities of Wales, and we will be listening carefully to our writers and stakeholders’ advice about language and terms throughout the process.

What can applicants expect from the Programme?

Every selected writer will receive a fixed award of £2,000. Writers can choose how to use this award, for example to buy equipment to write, or take time off work to concentrate on the programme and/or their writing. An additional sum of £450 will also be paid to cover accommodation, travel and subsistence costs when taking part in activities away from home and to purchase tickets for literary events and festivals.

Additionally, an access fund has been created to enable full participation in events for writers with disabilities or illnesses who may have access requirements.

The programme itself will be created according to the needs and interests of the selected writers, and will be devised and planned together with the cohort. For example, the programme might include:

  • Visits to literature festivals and events in Wales and beyond
  • Training days and workshops
  • A residential course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre and an opportunity to stay at our Writers’ Retreat Cottage
  • A series of virtual talks and readings
  • Networking events
  • Information sharing and support in entering competitions, submitting work for publication and more

Each successful applicant will be paired up with a mentor for the duration of the programme to help guide them along in their career as a professional writer. Writers may already have someone in mind to be their mentor, but if not, we will be able to select the perfect match to make sure each writer’s literary skills and talents can reach their full potential.

To deliver the programme, Literature Wales will collaborate with a number of organisations and individuals from the arts and literature sector in Wales and the UK, including Lumin Press, Where I’m Coming From, Creative Access, Race Council Cymru, Black History Wales, Ledbury Critics Programme, Lucent Dreaming, Poetry Wales, S4C and Speaking Volumes. Further partners will be announced and included as the programme develops throughout the year.


How to apply?

You can access the application form here. The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 4 December 2020.

Places on the programme will mainly be selected according to the potential of the writer, rather than previous experience or successes. However, for our panel to identify a writer’s potential, they need to see an example of creative work. This could include written or performed pieces. Please remember that this programme is likely to be very competitive so applicants should send examples of what they consider to be their best work.

If you’d like to apply, please download the Frequently Asked Questions and Guidelines document below for more details about the Professional Development Programme for Writers of Colour and information on the application process. Or for further information please contact us: post@literaturewales.org | 02920 472266 | through Facebook Messenger

 

Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions – Download as PDF

Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions – Download as Word Document

Assessment Guidelines – Download as PDF

Assessment Guidelines – Download as Word Document
PDF of Application Form (to prepare your answers beforehand)

 

The Assessment Panel

Sandeep Parmar
Chair
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Patience Agbabi
Panel
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Ashok Ahir
Panel
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Sadia Pineda Hameed
Panel
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Natalie Jerome
Panel
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Sandeep Parmar
Chair

Sandeep Parmar is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool where she co-directs Liverpool’s Centre for New and International Writing. She holds a PhD from University College London and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her books include Reading Mina Loy’s Autobiographies (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), an edition of the Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees (Carcanet, 2011) and two books of her own poetry published by Shearsman: The Marble Orchard (2012) and Eidolon (2015), winner of the Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Statesman, The Financial Times, and the TLS. She is a BBC New Generation Thinker and co-founder of the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics scheme for Black, Asian and minority ethnic reviewers.

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Patience Agbabi
Panel

Patience Agbabi FRSL is a popular poet, performer and novelist. Since 2008, she has been a Fellow in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. Patience was Canterbury Laureate from 2009 to 2010 and received a Grant for the Arts and an Authors Foundation Grant to write a contemporary version of The Canterbury Tales. This fourth collection, Telling Tales (Canongate, 2014), was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and Wales Book of the Year’s Poetry Category 2015. Patience’s debut, middle-grade novel The Infinite (Canongate, 2020), is the first of the Leap Cycle series and was CBBC book of the month for July 2020. The sequel, The Time-Thief, is due in 2021.

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Ashok Ahir
Panel

Ashok Ahir is the elected President of the National Eisteddfod Court and Chair of the Eisteddfod Management Board. He was the Chair of the Organising Committee for the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff in 2018, an event that has been praised for its inclusiveness and openness.
Until recently he was Director of Communications for the UK Government in Wales and is currently working on major communications projects for the Cabinet Office.
He brings a wealth of business and management experience to the role having previously co-founded the communications agency, Mela, and as former head of politics at BBC Cymru Wales.
He is a board member at Sport Wales and sits on the British Council's Wales Advisory Committee.
Originally from Wolverhampton, Ashok grew up in a Punjabi-speaking household, but has since learnt Welsh fluently, and reached the final of the Welsh Learner of the Year Award in 2012.

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Sadia Pineda Hameed
Panel

Sadia Pineda Hameed is a half-Filipina half-Pakistani writer, artist and editor living in Cardiff. Her writing practice includes poetry and experiments in prose, as well as text-based film, installation and performance. Her work often explores collective and inherited trauma; in particular, the latent ways we speak about this through dreaming, telepathic communion and secrets as an anti-colonial strategy inherent to us. Sadia has shown work with Artes Mundi, National Museum Wales, g39 WARP, Peak Cymru, Arcade/Campfa, SHIFT, Gentle/Radical, the Eisteddfod, HOAX, and forthcoming with MOSTYN and Bluecoat; and has been published with Zarf, Amberflora, Porridge, Wales Arts Review and LUMIN among others. She is currently writing her first long-form piece: a creative non-fiction novella, To Make Philippines, supported by the Literature Wales Bursary and Mentoring Scheme 2020. She was one of the Rising Stars Wales 2020.
Sadia is also co-founder of LUMIN, a small press, curatorial collective and radio programme for experimental, radical and personal literature and art. She has spoken about contemporary publishing and multidisciplinary archiving at Bangor University’s Women in Publishing Symposium, Cardiff University's Archiving Gender Symposium, Gentle/Radical’s Imagination Forum, and curated the WARP Library Dialogue.

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Natalie Jerome
Panel

Natalie Jerome has worked as a publisher and acquiring editor for Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan, Bonnier Books and HarperCollins. She now works for literary agency Aevitas Creative Management. Included in the 2018 publishing trade magazine The Bookseller’s Industry top 100, she was described as a “brand publishing wizard” having acquired and published books that have sold, during the course of her career, six million copies. Natalie specializes in non-fiction with a specific focus on entertainment and lifestyle and has commissioned and published books by a host of high profile names including the multi-million copy-selling One Direction titles as well as books from Chris Evans, Alan Carr, George Best, Scarlett Moffatt and Gary Barlow. As a literary agent, her clients include the actor David Harewood and Sir Lenny Henry.
As one of the few black Publishers in the UK, Natalie has worked to improve diversity within the industry. She was a founding trustee and is advisory board member of Creative Access, a mentoring and graduate trainee scheme for Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates looking for paid internships across the creative industries and media sector. In 2016 Natalie was highly commended for her work at the National Business in the Community Race Equality Awards.
Natalie is on Literature Wales' Board of Directors.

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