Nationwide campaign launches to find, mentor and publish new authors from communities under-represented on bookshelves



Tuesday, 26th July: A nationwide campaign to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the UK’s bookshelves is being launched by Penguin Random House, the UK’s biggest book publisher.

WriteNow aims to find exceptional unpublished writers that are under-represented in books and publishing. This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, writers who come from LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) communities, or writers with a disability.

It will offer them one-to-one time with editors and access to literary agents, booksellers and published authors, including Kit de Waal, Bali Rai and Sathnam Sanghera, at regional events in London, Birmingham and Manchester, with the ultimate ambition of publishing new writers.

Penguin Random House has joined forces with writer development charities Spread the WordWriting West Midlands and Commonword to launch WriteNow.

Kit de Waal, author of the debut novel My Name Is Leon, said: “If you’re from a marginalised community, whatever you’re writing about, your writing will be informed by your experiences. Those experiences need to be out there. They need to be on the shelves so other people can read them. So other people can say: ‘Publishing is about my life. Publishing represents me. I have stake in this. And I have something to say’. That’s why I’m delighted to be involved with WriteNow.”

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, said: “Books and publishing simply do not reflect the society we live in. Not only is that bad for the future of books, reading and culture, but it’s also a commercial imperative for us to change. If we don’t, we will become increasingly irrelevant.

“One of the many joys of reading is being able to make a personal connection with an author’s distinctive voice, but we know some voices aren’t yet being heard. Our job at Penguin Random House is to connect the world with the stories, ideas and writing that matter. So if you are sitting on a fantastic manuscript, we want to hear from you.”

Up-and-coming, unpublished writers across the UK can apply to attend one of the WriteNow events by visiting and submitting a sample of their work. 150 writers will then be invited to attend one of the events. Ten exceptional writers will go on to benefit from a year of mentoring with the goal of having their book published.

Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word, said: “#WriteNowLive is a timely and amazing opportunity for talented writers across the UK. Talent development and opening up opportunities for writers to connect with publishers and readers is central to the work and 21 year history of Spread the Word. Our collective ambition is to give writers access to the networks, knowledge and skills they need to pursue strong and fruitful writing careers.”

Applications for the London event open today at

For more information:

Hannah Glenny, Senior Communications Manager, Penguin Random House UK
T: +44 (0)207 840 8827 M: +44 (0)7769 617 881 E:

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