Developing Skills and Talent in the Creative Industries
Here you can find help and advice on writing. This comprehensive guide includes a list of links related to: careers, communities, courses and developing skills.
Please note: Our site contains links to and from other websites. Studio12 and Leeds City Council do not necessarily endorse or support the organisations that are linked to or from our website. We cannot guarantee that links will work all of the time, and we have no control over the content or availability of the linked pages on other websites. We aim to keep this page as up to date as possible, however please check details yourself before applying for opportunities, some of which may be paused or cancelled due to the pandemic. If you’re a Studio12 member and need some help or advice in submitting an application for any opportunities or funding, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
BBC Writers Room:
You could work in film, TV or radio as a scriptwriter. The BBC Writers Room discovers, develops and champions new and experienced writing talent across the whole of the UK. Visit the BBC’s Writers Room website writing industry guidance and opportunities.
Visit the ScreenSkills website to view the Games Writer job profile.
Visit the ScreenSkills website to view the Screenwriter job profile.
Visit the ScreenSkills website to view the Script Supervisor job profile.
Writer’s Community – Poetry / Spoken Word
For further ideas of where to submit your poetry scroll down to Publishers / Submission Opportunities
Apples and Snakes:
We are spoken word trailblazers, with artists at our heart. By bringing together important voices in interesting ways, we create inspiring experiences for audiences. We champion the development of extraordinary artists. As England’s leading spoken word poetry organisation, we exist to support poets at all stages of their careers. Working with inspiring people and organisations, we run regular live events and artist development programmes across the country. Through our Book a Poet scheme, we can help you find the best visiting artists for your workshops and events. We produce work in collaboration with other charities and organisations, including libraries, prisons, and housing associations. Visit Apple and Snake’s website to find out about their projects, events, how to get involved in the community, and sign up to the monthly newsletter. You can also follow Apple and Snakes on Facebook. You can also watch spoken word performances and online gigs via YouTube.
Creative Writing Ink:
The website is run by Olive O’Brien, a writer and publisher. Olive has a Masters in Journalism and previously worked as a features writer and news reporter. She has had three children’s books published and is the director of the independent book publishing company, Silver Angel Publishing. She also runs another online writing community. Visit Creative Writing Ink’s website to find out about writing competitions.
End of the World Podcast:
Our history is informed by the remains of fallen civilisations: their bones, buildings and stories. In a world that seems on the brink of catastrophe, we want to know what stories we’ll leave behind for future generations. Bedtime Stories for the End of the World asks some of the UK’s top poets to re-imagine their favourite myths, fairytales and legends. The stories they want to seal up and protect against rising waters, from nuclear disaster, and from the mundane tragedy of human forgetfulness. What kind of stories do we want to leave the future? How might they differ from the stories we’ve inherited? Our first two series have included new poems from writers including: Jay Bernard, Malika Booker, Inua Ellams, Andrew McMillan, Sabrina Mahfouz, Kei Miller and Joelle Taylor. Visit End of the World Podcast’s website to listen to episodes and individual poems, or to enquire about showcasing your poetry.
Hyde Park Book Club:
Based in Hyde Park, Leeds. This bar serves drinks and meals in addition to running music, comedy and other live events. They have run many spoken word events in the past. Visit Hyde Park Book Club’s website to check their current events.
Leeds Writers Circle:
A group of members that meet alternate Mondays at The Carriageworks in Millennium Square, Leeds. Every two weeks they have a manuscript evening where members are invited to read their work to the group, and receive constructive feedback from people who are writers themselves. They also run workshops on Saturdays, both by professional writers and by their members, and have three competitions a year. Follow Leeds Writer’s Circle on Twitter to find out about writing competitions and other opportunities. Visit the Leeds Writers Circle website to find out more about the member’s group.
Leeds Young Authors (LYA):
A creative writing program for young writers and mentorship training. The lead in poetry slam and live performance in the UK with the Sunday practise. The project was developed with the aim to stimulate a love for poetry and literature as a whole among inner-city young people. LYA now meet weekly at the Host Leeds Media Centre in Chapeltown, where the group was originally started, to study poetry, word power and performance skills. Formed in September 2003 by Khadijah Ibrahiim, LYA have been performing their brand of hard-hitting, fast paced poetry not only locally, but as the first non-Americans in the Brave New Voices competition in Los Angeles 04, San Francisco 05, New York 06, San Jose 07 and Washington DC 08. LYA were also 2nd place winners in the hometown of slam poetry Chicago 09 and were the first UK team to be selected to be part of the BNV future Corp in Los Angeles 2010 and also represented in San Francisco 2011. Their work has extended across the UK, Gambia and the Caribbean. Follow Leeds Young Authors on Facebook to find out about opportunities and network with the community.
Based in Headingley, Leeds they have run ‘Outspoken’ spoken word events hosted by Say It With Your Chest, usually the 3rd Friday of each month. They also run an open mic night the 1st & 3rd Sunday of each month, hosted by Muted Productions. Visit the LS6 Cafe website to find out about their current events.
A magazine for women who write. the magazine is full of creative inspiration, practical advice and original poetry, fiction and memoir – as well as our unique listing of over 120 writing competitions and submission opportunities, plus lots of online workshops, courses and events. Twice annually we ask for themed poetry and prose submissions for the Showcase (previously New Writing) section of the magazine. We look for stories of up to 2,200 words, poems of up to 40 lines, and short scripts (for theatre, radio or film) of up to 1,000 words (including character names and stage instructions). Please note we only accept up to four poems and two short stories per entrant. Visit Myslexia’s website to find out more about their current themes and to submit your writing to the Showcase. There are also 14 opportunities to submit for women writers of all specialisms. Visit Myslexia’s website to find out more about submitting your poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
National Centre for Writing:
Support from Arts Council England has helped us create an early career digital programme, providing free resources, professional development and industry advice for new writers. Tailored early career support for the award winning writers will include residency opportunities, mentoring and industry support to help them build a sustainable career. Visit the National Centre for Writing website to access free writing resource packs, free online courses and tips for writers.
New Writing North:
We commission new work, create development opportunities, nurture talent and make connections that supports writing and reading in the North of England. We work with new writers and seek out talent across the North of England. We also work with more established writers, often in ways that allow them the freedom to experiment and grow creatively. We are inspired by new ideas and commission new writing across all forms. Visit the New Writing North website to find out about their projects, resources, events and training.
Nymphs & Thugs:
We are an independent spoken word record label established in 2015. Based between Leeds and London, our aim is to provide vital and accessible spoken word content at the heart of the UK’s thriving scene. As well as digital albums, we’ve released CDs, vinyl, zines, t-shirts, pin badges, tote bags and limited edition prints. We also produce national spoken word tours and ‘LIVEwire’ events around the UK. Our Twitter feed provides news and content from around the globe. And our Instagram feed features poetry excerpts from around the globe as well as weekly 30-minute Insta sessions with guest poets. You can also visit the Nymphs & Thugs to find out more about their work with artists and work they have released, in addition to news and events.
They help make poetry part of daily life, presenting a new poem each day from new books and journals, along with poetry news links and more. Visit Poetry Daily’s website to sign up to the daily newsletter, and read the daily past poems.
A leading international magazine, where new names share pages with acclaimed contemporary poets. We also publish a wide range of poetry in translation. The magazine is published in February, May and September. We receive a vast amount of submissions, so reading can take up to three months, and if your work is shortlisted, maybe even longer. You might find it helpful to read the magazine first, to see if your work is suitable. We pay poets £30 for one poem and £20 for each subsequent poem. Appropriate adjustments may be made for very long poems. Review and interview fees are agreed in advance with the Reviews Editor and benchmarked at £45 per 1,000 words. Visit Poetry London’s website to submit your poems and get paid if they feature in the magazine.
Poets & Writers, Inc:
The primary source of information, support, and guidance for creative writers. Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers. Our mission? To foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public. Each year, tens of thousands of poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers benefit from P&W’s programs, which include its eponymous magazine; a dynamic, information-rich website; financial support for readings and other literary events; and sponsorship of several notable writing prizes and awards. Visit the Poets & Writers website for information on publishing and promoting your writing, networking, support for writers undertaking literary readings and conducting writing workshops, and much more. You can also follow Poets & Writers Inc. on Twitter to find out about opportunities
Founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”. Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. Today it has more than 5,000 members worldwide and publishes the UK’s leading poetry magazine, The Poetry Review, which has been published since 1912. With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages. As well as the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, The Poetry Society runs the National Poetry Competition, one of the world’s longest-running and most prestigious prizes for an individual poem. The Poetry Society also ran the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry – the prize founded and supported by Carol Ann Duffy during her 10 year tenure as Poet Laureate. Visit The Poetry Society website to find out about competitions, events and projects. You can also follow the Poetry Society on Twitter.
Spread the Word:
We are London’s writer development agency, which means we are here to help London’s writers make their mark – on the page, the screen and in the world. We do this by kick starting the careers of London’s best new writers, and energetically campaigning to ensure that publishing truly reflects the diversity of the city. We support the creative and professional development of writing talent, by engaging those already interested in literature and those who will be, and by advocating on behalf of both. Visit Spread the Word’s website to check out their opportunities, some of which are open to writers outside of London.
A live music and poetry night at Sela Bar, Leeds – and so much more! If you want to be part of the biggest spoken word community in Leeds and meet like-minded people, this is where to go! It’s free and takes place the first Sunday of each month featuring spoken word, an open mic, DJ and drinks. Since being set up in April 2013, The Sunday Practise has featured both local and international acts. It’s is a great networking event that encourages artist collaborations. Run by Leeds Young Authors alumni, the team also offer creative writing workshops to schools, youth groups and young adults. Due to Covid-19 The Sunday Practise may be running events online, so follow them on Facebook. You can also follow the Sunday Practise on Instagram.
An independent poetry magazine (published three times a year) and poetry publisher. Visit the website to read poems from the magazine for free. The Rialto is part funded by Arts Council England. Visit The Rialto website to learn how to submit your poetry for possible publication, plus read articles and blogs by the editors, poets and guest writers.
The State of The Arts:
We make and share good stories about culture, politics and people, and we’d love to have you contributing. This form is the place for you to send ideas about interviews, features, reviews, opinion pieces, anything. Remember, we’re looking for stories and specifics that will make us excited to see the finished article. To pitch your writing to The State of The Arts visit their website.
Write Out Loud:
A national hub for participation in poetry, encouraging everyone who writes poetry – from still-too-nervous-to-do-open-mic to Nobel Prize winner – to share their words with others. The Write Out Loud website has been around since 2005, with over 45,000 people visiting the website each month. Here’s a guide to what you’ll find there:
• News: The latest news from the world of poetry, including reviews of events and books, details of competitions, and much more.
• Gig guide: Poetry events are an opportunity to share your work, meet up with other poets, socialise, and listen to a wide range of styles, ideas, forms, voices, and experiences. The gig guide is the best way to find out what’s going on in your area.
• Profiles: Creating a profile when you join Write Out Loud gives you the opportunity to tell us a bit about yourself.
• Galleries: Photos from poetry events and readings, showing poets of all ages, backgrounds, poetic styles and levels of experience.
• Discussions: Want to chat about a particular subject or issue in depth? This is the place to go.
• Poetry directory: A directory of festivals, publishers, poetry magazines, competitions and more.
Visit Write Out Loud’s website to access their free poetry resources.
Writing Tips Oasis:
We want to provide you with the very best writing tips, writing advice, and guidance to help you become the best writer you can be, whether it’s as a published author, a freelance writer, a business writer, a journalist, poet, or as a blogger. We want to help you improve not only your craft, but develop the business skills needed to sell your work to the markets you choose to. Visit the Writing Tips Oasis website to access free resources for writers.
Young Poets Network:
The Poetry Society’s online platform for young poets up to the age of 25. Here you’ll find features about poets and poetry, challenges and competitions to inspire your own writing, new writing from young poets, and advice and guidance from the rising and established stars of the poetry scene. We also bring you the latest news and ideas from the writing world, and a list of competitions, magazines and writing groups which particularly welcome young writers. Follow the Young Poets Network on Twitter to network and find out about opportunities for poets under age 25.
Writer’s Community – Screen Industries
BBC Writers Room Free Resources:
Visit the BBC Writers Room for interviews, advice, toolkits, guidelines and many other resources to help and support your writing. Includes:
– Scriptwriting Essentials: Watch a series of ten videos covering the essentials of writing a successful script.
– Tips & Advice: For writing TV and Film Drama, Continuing Drama, Comedy, Children’s and Radio.
Channel 4 Commissioning:
Ever wondered what Channel 4 are currently looking for in pitches and scripts? Channel 4’s Content and Commissioning pages provide in-depth information. In each department (comedy, drama, daytime, E4, Film4 etc.) you’ll find an overview, information about specific areas of programming, a contacts list and FAQs. Visit the Channel 4 website to find out more about their commissioning process and how you can pitch your script.
Film Hub North – Online Filmmaker Roundtable:
Introduce yourself to our Talent Team. Our Online Filmmaker Roundtables give local writers, directors and producers the opportunity to connect with our Talent Development Team remotely. Each Roundtable is hosted by one of Film Hub North’s BFI Network Talent Executives and involves up to 10 local filmmakers. The sessions are informal events primarily for creatives who have not yet had a 1-2-1 meeting with our team. They’re a chance to introduce yourself to our team and find out about the film funding and training opportunities available through BFI Network. You’ll also get to meet some of the region’s filmmakers, chat about your work and lay the foundations for future collaborators. Visit Film Hub North’s website to find out more about the Roundtables and how you can join in.
Film Hub North – Script Mixer:
A regular online meet up for creatives in the North to talk storytelling. Script Mixers are informal events that provide creatives in the North the chance to meet up, chat over a drink and form new filmmaking teams. We’re continuing to bring writers, directors and producers together remotely through our online series of Mixers. We’ll be using Zoom breakout rooms to recreate the friendly spirit of our in-person events. Our BFI Network team will mix small groups of filmmakers together and rotate the rooms throughout the evening. And we’ll be on hand to make introductions, help workshop ideas and answer any questions about our film funding and talent development opportunities. Visit Film Hub North’s website to find out more about the Script Mixers and how you can join in.
ScreenSkills Masterclass: Writing International TV Dramas by Brendan Foley. Jeff Melvoin and Brendan Foley break down the differences between the US and UK writing systems and the lessons to be learned from each of them. Visit ScreenSkill’s website to view the masterclass.
Courses / Talent Development Schemes
BBC Comedy Room:
A 1 year development scheme for writers identified through our open submission script room and other talent searches. There are normally between 15 and 20 writers or writing pairs on the Comedy Room. They usually meet once a month for six months and receive targeted training and development including workshops (with practical writing exercises), masterclasses, introductions and networking events, and writing briefs with the opportunity to pitch. Following this they receive the support of a Script Editor for a further 6 months to develop their original spec’ script. The aim of the scheme is to encourage and develop the best in new comedy writing and to give these writers the opportunity to build strong connections with producers and help them gain BBC broadcast commissions. To find out how to submit your script to the Comedy or Drama Room visit BBC’s website. To access free comedy resources and industry guidance, visit the BBC Comedy Room.
BBC Writers Room Drama Room:
A 1-year writer development scheme for writers identified through our open submission script room and other talent searches.
There are normally between 15 and 20 writers on the Drama Room scheme. They usually meet once a month for six months and receive targeted training and development including workshops (with practical writing exercises), masterclasses, introductions and networking events, and writing briefs with the opportunity to pitch. Following this they receive the support of a Script Editor for a further 6 months to develop their original spec’ script. The aim of the scheme is to encourage and develop the best in new drama writing and to give these writers the opportunity to build strong connections with producers and help them gain BBC broadcast commissions. To find out how to submit your script to the Comedy or Drama Room visit BBC’s website. To access free drama resources and industry guidance, visit the BBC Drama Room.
BBC Studios Writers’ Academy:
Are you an up-and-coming screenwriter? Do you want a career writing TV Drama? The BBC Studios Writers’ Academy gives writers the opportunity to learn from some of the biggest names in the industry, the chance to develop their skills on the BBC’s flagship shows (EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Doctors, and River City), and the opportunity to work with some of the UK’s best television drama production companies. The Writers’ Academy will give a minimum of eight writers a year’s paid training, with guaranteed commissions on the BBC’s flagship shows as well as the chance to develop an original project with BBC Studios, or one of the BBC’s independent production partners. We want writers who are passionate about television drama, bursting with ideas and a love of popular drama. Past Graduates’ Successes:
• 2000 hours of British and Irish TV drama produced from graduates.
• 35 original commissions including Grantchester, Pure, Watership Down, Father Brown, My Mad Fat Diary, Shakespeare and Hathaway, The Victim, and Red Rock.
• 47 original drama series/films in development.
• 50 members of core writing teams on shows including: Casualty, Doctors, EastEnders, Holby City, River City, and Coronation Street.
• 37 Lead Writers/Showrunners on original and continuing drama series.
• Nominations and wins for a range of awards including Oscar, Emmy, BAFTA, Royal Television Society Award, Writer’s Guild Award, Soap Awards. Visit the BBC Studios website to find out more about the Writers’ Academy.
Channel 4 Screenwriting Course (paid opportunity, for ages 18 and over):
The purpose of the course is to offer 12 writers new to television drama an insight into how the industry works and to provide a “dry-run” of what it can be like to write under a television drama commission, specifically for one hour series and serial drama, and to work with them as they write an original drama script. Writers will be expected to write an original C4 / E4 one-hour drama series or serial pilot episode, and 2-3 page outline / pitch for the series / serial as a whole. Each writer will be assigned a script editor, who is currently working in the industry, to guide them through this process. Writers will meet at least twice with their script editor and should complete a 2nd draft script before the 2nd weekend of the course. Completed, 2nd draft scripts will be sent to the script editor and two other writers on the course, for workshop discussions at the second weekend. Eligibility: Only writers who do not have a broadcast credit as a television writer or theatrical release as a feature film writer may apply (although produced short films – 20 minutes or less – are exempt). Visit the Visit the Channel 4 Screenwriting Course website for more details and to find out when applications reopen.
FutureLearn – An Introduction to Screenwriting:
A free online course by University of East Anglia and FutureLearn. Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films, the essential work from which all other filmmaking flows. All of the tender romance, terrifying action and memorable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk. The University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing have built this course with instructors and recent alumni from their course in Creative Writing. You’ll learn from a mixture of basic theory, script analysis and practical exercises. You will explore key principles as they’re expressed in great films, then immediately apply these concepts. Videos, articles and discussion steps will offer you the opportunity to learn and engage with other learners on key concepts and ideas. This free online course is now open to join at any time. Register for the free Introduction to Screenwriting course on the FutureLearn website.
Megaphone – Amplifying Children’s Writers of Colour:
Support for writers of colour in England as they work on their first novel for children or teenagers. We offer a year of one-to-one mentoring and small group masterclasses to people of colour based in England as they write a novel for children or teenagers to a publishable standard. Megaphone is an Arts Council England-funded project run by children’s author Leila Rasheed and Commissioning Editor Stephanie King. Placements cost money but bursaries may be available. Visit Megaphone’s website to find out more about Amplifying Children’s Writers of Colour and to check when applications next reopen.
New Writing North – Verb New Voices:
This writing development programme discovers and commissions exciting new writers from the North of England to make innovative work for BBC Radio 3 programme, The Verb. Verb New Voices 4 is a partnership between the BBC, The Writing Squad, Arvon, and New Writing North, who manage the project. The writers each receive a paid commission to write an 8-minute piece for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, which will also be performed live at Contains Strong Language, a BBC poetry festival in Hull, and BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead. The development package includes a 2-day workshop with the BBC, a residential course at Arvon, and other support from partners as identified by the artist. The writers receive a £2,000 bursary to support their involvement in Verb New Voices 4. Visit New Writing North’s website to find out more about Verb New Voices.
A filmmaking lab for people who don’t make films – yet! It’s a talent development programme for writers and writer-performers from a range of disciplines who want to experiment with the moving image. You might be a comedian, spoken word artist, scratch performer, theatre maker, social media storyteller or DIY filmmaker. Whatever your existing practice, the most important thing is your creativity. Scratch Me will help you realise your ideas on screen. Scratch Me is all about characters. Exciting, original, can’t-look-away characters. Over the course of a two-month programme of workshops, mentoring sessions and writing challenges, lab participants will develop a fully-formed character who has the potential to lead to a short film, TV series or feature film. At the end of the programme, our writers will collaborate with a team of emerging filmmakers to create a short scratch monologue film which will be presented to industry executives at a special showcase event. You’ll leave Scratch Me with a powerful new addition to your creative portfolio and the confidence to develop your film and TV skills further. Scratch Me is a Film Hub North and BFI NETWORK project delivered in partnership with Screen Yorkshire and SIGN (Screen Industries Growth Network). Visit Film Hub North’s website to find out when applications reopen.
The Writing Squad:
A 2 year programme development programme for writers aged 16-21 living, working or studying in the north of England. Every two years we recruit 30 writers aged 16-21 from across the north of England. We offer a free programme of workshops, one to ones, project activity and professional development. After writers have completed the 2 year programme, the Squad continues to work with them and support the development of their writing and careers. We provide continued support with their writing plus professional development advice, investment and invitations to attend residential courses and special workshops. Applications next open Dec. 2021. To make sure you don’t miss us out on the talent development scheme, visit Writing Squad’s website and sign up to the newsletter.
Awards / Bursaries / Competitions
Alfred Bradley Bursary Award:
The Award is a £5,000 writing bursary to Northern writers new to radio and the chance of a Radio 4 drama commission. The Award was established in 1992 to commemorate the life and work of Alfred Bradley, the distinguished BBC Radio Drama Producer and is run by Radio Drama North in conjunction with BBC Writersroom. Entrants must submit an original and complete drama script written for radio, TV, stage or film which should be at least 30 pages long. Previous winners include Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, War Horse), Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Debt) and Cat Jones (Doctors, Waterloo Road) who have all gone on to have huge success across radio, TV and film. To apply you must be aged 18 or over and currently reside in the North of England on a permanent / full time basis. The North of England is defined by the Boundary Committee for England which includes the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber. Visit BBCs website to find out more about the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award.
Alpine Fellowship Theatre Prize:
Awarded for the best playwriting response to the changing annual theme. The prize will be £3,000 plus a rehearsed reading at the Fellowship’s annual Symposium to which the winner will be invited to attend. Runners up will be invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium in Sweden to exhibit their work, all food and accommodation covered. Travel expenses will be reimbursed up to a total of £500. Rules:
● The final piece must be no more than 45 minutes in length.
● The final piece must require no more than four actors.
● The winning play will be performed as a rehearsed reading so simplicity in staging is preferred.
● This prize is open to anyone above 18 years of age.
● Plays must not have previously been performed, including as a reading or workshop production.
● Playwrights at any stage of their career are eligible to apply.
● Submissions will be judged anonymously so please ensure your name does not appear anywhere on your submission materials.
Visit the Alpine Fellowship’s website to find out more about the Theatre Prize and to check when applications next reopen.
Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize:
Awarded for the best piece of writing (a maximum of 2,500 words) on the theme which changes annually. The winner receives a £10,000 cash prize and is presented with the award by the poet John Burnside. A £3,000 cash prize will go to the second place, and £2,000 to the third place runner up. The winner and two runners up are invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium. All genres are permitted. If you’re submitting in poetry, please feel free to include as many relevant poems as you would like, while remaining underneath the word count. To find out more about the Writing Prize, visit The Alpine Fellowship’s website.
BBC Felix Dexter Bursary:
A six-month bursary awarded to aspiring comedy writers to develop their skills at the BBC. The bursary is open to black, Asian and other ethnic minority writers (or writing duos) who are aged 18 or over. An opportunity, offered by BBC Comedy in partnership with the BBC Writersroom, which is designed to find writers with a fresh, unique point of view and the potential to help shape the future of comedy, whether in the BBC or elsewhere in the industry. It aims to make a positive intervention to address an under-representation of BAME professionals in comedy production in broadcasting. On a practical level, the bursary gives up-and-coming talent the chance to make comedy writing their main focus for six months, while immersed in comedy production. They hone their skills while gaining experience on a range of BBC comedies across radio, TV and online, on panel shows, shorts, sitcoms or comedy entertainment shows. The programme offers the writers the support they need to take the next step in their career. Visit the BBC’s Commissioning website to find out more about the Felix Dexter Bursary, and when applications next reopen.
For aspiring writers everywhere. We are committed to discovering and championing new writers in poetry, short story, flash fiction and the novel. Note entry fees apply, but bursaries might be available if this is a barrier to you. Annual prizes in poetry (prize £5k), short story (prize £5k), flash fiction (prize £1k), First Novel (prize £1.5k), runner up (prize £750), Young Writer Award (prize £500).
Visit Bridport’s website to find out more about their writing prizes, deadlines, and how you can submit your work.
British Comedy Guide – BCG Pro Video Contest:
The BCG Pro Video Contest looks for the best scripted video sketches, which are two minutes in length or shorter. Each month, a panel of judges will select a sketch, which will be awarded £100 and shared with over 150,000 comedy fans via British Comedy Guide’s social media platforms. Submissions which showcase a great funny script, and have good picture quality and sound, are most likely to win. Archive content is accepted – you could have filmed the sketch at any time, but it must still feel relevant today. It is free to enter and you may submit one project into the contest for consideration in each entry window. You may use your entry opportunity to submit a project on behalf of a team/collective, as long as all involved have consented for the video to be submitted. To find out ore about the BCG Pro Video Contest and to check when applications next reopen, visit the British Comedy Guide’s website.
Caroline Aherne Bursary:
Aimed at northern female writers / performers, the Bursary is designed to find, develop and support great new comedy talent, the bursary was named in honour of the late award-winning comedy writer and performer Caroline Aherne, who created The Royle Family and Mrs Merton. Now in its fourth year, it has proved a great springboard for talented writer/performers to bring new work to the screen. Each year the winner is awarded £5000 to support the development of a comedy script and also receives mentoring from a BBC Comedy Commissioning Editor. Sophie Willan was named as the first winner of the Caroline Aherne Bursary in 2017. Her pilot Alma’s Not Normal premiered on BBC Two in April 2020 and has now been commissioned as a full series. To find out more about the Caroline Aherne Bursary and when applications next reopen, visit the BBC Commissioning website.
We produce theatre, film, radio, podcasts, written word, events, as well as collaborating with other artistic companies and professional practitioners, to create and develop cultural and artistic work. Since Cranked Anvil formed in 2012 as a small-scale touring theatre company it has grown rapidly and ambitiously, and now it encompasses all manner of artistic and literary endeavours. 2020 sees the development of the publishing arm of Cranked Anvil Media. There will be more information on the website as it develops – including details of submission guidelines. Visit Cranked Anvil’s website to find out about the Short Story and Flash Fiction competitions, with several deadlines throughout each year.
Creative Future Writers’ Award (CFWA):
A national writing development programme which celebrates talented, under-represented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. Prize winners are selected by a panel of industry experts and are given the opportunity to develop their work through training, mentoring, assessment and coaching. Prizes include £10,000 of cash and top writing development prizes supplied by prominent publishers and development agencies. Our high-profile award event features a selection of readings from the award winning submissions, as well as performances from prominent guest authors. Winning submissions are also published in an anthology alongside work by our guest authors, available in hard copy and as an e-book. For more information about eligibility and the submission process, visit Creative Future’s website.
David Nobbs Memorial Trust Annual Comedy Writing Competition:
The competition offers cash prizes to up-and-coming comedy writers, helping them ‘buy time’ for writing. With the comedy and arts sectors widely affected by lockdown restrictions, this year’s competition will increase the cash prize for the overall winner to £750. Any runner-up winners will receive £250. Also, for the first time, the winners will get a precious one-on-one consultation with an established comedy producer on the Trust board. Lucy Lumsden, owner of Yellow Door Productions and formerly head of comedy commissioning at both Sky and the BBC, Roisin Conaty, comedian and creator of the Channel 4 sitcom, Gameface and Hunderby actor Daniel Lawrence Taylor will judge the scripts that make it to the final. The David Nobbs Memorial Trust was established by comedy producers, performers and people who knew and loved David, with the blessing of his family, to honour his memory by supporting new comedy writing in the UK. The contest is aimed at those early in their writing career, but it is not totally ‘open door’. Entrants must be able to provide a broadcast credit for their written material and accompany their entry with a 500-word Statement of Intent, describing their writing career goals. Visit the David Nobbs Memorial Trust website to find out more about the Annual Comedy Writing Competition and to check when applications next reopen.
Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction:
Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire are proud to host the annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction. It is open to anyone age 18 or over who is a UK resident.The winning writer will receive £500 and all 10 shortlisted authors will be featured in an ebook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online. The winner will also have their story published online by our media partner Northern Soul. It is free to submit your entry, but only one per writer please. To find out more about the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction visit the Comma Press website.
Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP) Award:
A playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work or have worked in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the ETPEP.The Award’s purpose is to find and nurture a playwright who has worked in theatre for two years or more (but not in a literary department setting or as a paid script reader), who is looking to further their ambitions and skill in the art and craft of playwriting. The Award is open to UK residents of any age who have not had a play professionally produced, and who have worked front of house, in administrative roles, on stage, backstage, lighting, design etc. or in a creative capacity in theatre for at least two years, either now or in the past.
The award is intended to target and encourage those who are currently working or have worked in theatre but who are new to playwriting, and therefore, the Award is not open to those who have worked in any capacity in a literary department, a literary agency, theatre critics, or those who ever have undertaken paid script reading work. For the avoidance of doubt, this is not an award for playwrights. It is an award for those who work or who have worked in theatre in some other capacity who also write plays. They are looking for a play of substance which contributes in some way to our understanding of the human condition or experience, from a writer with potential to enhance our political and social awareness. The award will be judged completely anonymously until the very final shortlist and interview stage, and brief feedback will be provided on every entry. The winner will receive a prize of £6,000, a development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson; a rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play; and a staged reading performance of the winning play either at the Finborough Theatre, London, pandemic permitting, or online; and publication by Salamander Street, independent publisher of theatre, performance and live art. There will be ten runner-up prizes of £300 each. Visit the ETPEP website to find out more about the Award and to check when applications next reopen.
Galton and Simpson Bursary:
The Bursary awards £5,500 and mentorship to comedy writers or writing partnerships to develop a script for broadcast consideration along with guidance from established industry professionals and the BBC comedy commissioning team. The bursary is a collaboration between the BBC and the Mental Health Foundation and is named after Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, one of the best loved and most enduring writing partnerships in comedy history. Writers submit individually or as part of a writing duo (two people) sending a sample comedy/sitcom script of 30 pages/30 minutes maximum, a series development plan and a short one page biography/statement. The BBC employ professional script readers to assess all the submitted scripts. They sift the scripts by reading at least the first ten pages. If a submission doesn’t sufficiently hook their attention at this stage it will not be considered further. If a submission hooks our reader’s attention it progresses to the second sift, to be re-read by another reader. Writers who progress beyond this stage are then recommended to BBC comedy commissioning. Comedy commissioning staff finalise a shortlist and then invite those writers or writing partnerships to attend an interview. Visit the BBC’s Commissioning website to find out more about the Galton and Simpson Bursary and to check which applications next reopen.
Globe Soup Competitions:
The online space for creative travellers. Read travel stories, get travel tips, discover new places. Take part in creative competitions to win prizes. Get paid to write… Globe Soup is an online space for creativity inspired by the world around us. We’re not just a travel site, we run international competitions open to anyone. We hope that by bringing together creatives from around the globe we can help inspire each other. Globe Soup hosts four main writing competitions each year: Travel Writing, Short Story, Poetry and Flash Fiction.
We also run photography and film making contests. Competitions are a great way to hone your skills, practice working to a deadline, gain exposure and of course, all our competitions offer cash prizes, which is a great way to fund future travel! Visit Globe Soup’s website to view competition opportunities.
Jerwood Arts Bursaries: Funding support for artists, curators and producers – including writers and playwrights. Jerwood Bursaries provide funding of up to £1,250 to help you explore and develop your practice by enabling you to gain new skills and knowledge. We want you to have the opportunity to pursue your interests independently and on your own terms. A Jerwood Bursary can support your development by funding meaningful opportunities to reflect on and grow your creative practice. This might include new partners for collaboration, receiving mentoring or taking part in training, conferences and workshops. It can support development of your creative practice by covering the costs of self-initiated residencies and by supporting early-stage research and testing of brand new ideas. We want you to suggest activities that will help you to learn and take control of the development of your artistic practice and career. We particularly welcome applications for:
● Mentoring, coaching, critical feedback
● Professional and/or specialised training
● Taking part in conferences or workshops
● Self-initiated residencies
● Networking and membership of artistic networks
● Learning specific skills and knowledge
● Research to develop your practice
To find out more about Jerwood Bursaries, when the next deadlines are and to apply, visit the Jerwood Arts website.
Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing:
Amateur playwrights worldwide are invited to submit unpublished one act plays. Three winning scripts will be selected for fully staged performances during the Windsor Fringe Festival. One of the three scripts will be chosen for the £500 prize, judged purely on the writing. Eligibility: only amateur playwrights are eligible and only one script per author accepted. Each script must be an original work and not previously published or performed. To find out more about the Award for New Drama Writing visit the BBC website.
Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for Fiction:
The prize is for a novel by a woman over the age of 21 that marries literary merit with unputdownability, (for unpublished writers only). Now going into its eleventh year, the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize is famous for helping undiscovered female writers launch their literary careers. Founded in 2010, by Professor Janet Todd OBE, the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize has gone from strength to strength with many shortlisted and winning authors securing publishing deals and furthering their writing. All shortlisted entrants receive a valuable half-hour one-to-one consultation with our competition sponsors PFD (subject to them not already having an agent) who will give editorial feedback and discuss the marketability of the work submitted. In addition, the 2021 winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500. To find out more abou the Lucy Cavendish Prize, visit Fiction Prize’s website.
Laura Kinsella Fellowship:
The Fellowship will support one exceptionally talented early career writer of literary fiction. This exciting new Fellowship is an inclusive platform for writers at the beginning of their career. Set up to support writers experiencing limiting circumstances, or whose voices are underrepresented in mainstream literary fiction, one writer will receive not only a cash prize but a bespoke programme of support delivered by National Centre for Writing. The chosen Laura Kinsella Fellow will be committed to their development and show extraordinary promise. The selected writer will receive:
• A prize of £4,000
• A programme of bespoke professional development and promotional opportunities, which may include space and time to write, mentoring, residency or research trips, introductions to the industry, or engagement with our existing programmes
The Laura Kinsella Fellowship is part of the National Centre for Writing’s Early Career Awards. Visit the the National Centre for Writing’s website to find out more about the Laura Kinsella Fellowship.
Merky Books New Writers’ Prize:
Merky Books is an award-winning book publishing imprint launched by Stormzy and Penguin Random House UK in 2018. Merky Books New Writers’ Prize is their annual writing competition that is open to young, underrepresented, and unpublished writers from across the UK and ROI. The winner of the New Writers’ Prize will receive a publishing contract with #Merky Books. All longlisted writers will also be invited to our Writers’ Camp, where they will be able to participate in writing workshops, panel talks, editorial one-to-ones, and meet the #Merky Books team. The prize will also aim to provide all applicants the tools, information and access they need to develop their ideas, progress their writing and set off on the path to publication. We’re looking for unpublished writers aged between 16 and 30 who are currently a resident in the UK or ROI. If you have a manuscript you are working on, or an idea ready to be put onto paper, we want to hear from you. We are looking for writers telling the stories that are not being heard, and the stories that deserve to be read, across fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Unfortunately we will not be accepting children’s books this year, but aim to open the New Writers’ Prize for this next year. Visit Penguin Books to find out more about the New Writers’ Prize and to apply.
NAWE’s mission is to advocate for Creative Writing: enhancing knowledge and understanding of the subject and supporting writers and good practice in teaching and facilitation in all settings. NAWE is a registered charity, supporting both members and the sector as a whole, providing information and advice on professional development for writers and other literature professionals. NAWE’s website has details of all the latest jobs, competitions and events for writers throughout the UK.
Neon Books: The Big List of UK Writing Competitions.
When it comes to getting your work noticed, there’s little better than winning or being shortlisted for a writing competition… And the odds of that happening aren’t as long as you think. Every competition listed here produces one or more winners every year, as well as numerous honourable mentions and shortlisted writers. But in order to be selected, your first have to pick a competition to enter. Thus we present our list of excellent writing competitions based in the UK. Visit Neon Book’s website to view UK writing competitions.
New Writing North Northern Writers’ Awards:
Established in 2000 by New Writing North, the Northern Writers’ Awards supports work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the North of England. The Awards support writers creatively as they develop their work towards publication, as well as helping them to progress professionally and navigate their way through the publishing industry. The awards support both new and established writers to develop their work towards publication and to progress their careers as writers. For new writers, winning a Northern Writers’ Award can help to connect you to the publishing industry and to develop your work towards publication; for established writers, awards can help to buy time to write to support the development of new work and offer creative opportunities. With high-profile literary judges and support and interest from across the publishing industry, the awards are now recognised nationally as a major talent-spotting programme that identifies and supports great writing and writers. Browse our previous winners to see the published work that the awards have supported. You must be over 18 years of age to enter. Visit New Writing North’s website to find out more about the Northern Writers’ Awards and to apply.
New Writing North The Gordon Burn Prize (for fiction / non-fiction novels):
The prize seeks to reward a published title – fiction or non-fiction – which represents the spirit and sensibility of Gordon’s literary methods. We love novels which dare to enter history and to interrogate the past and non-fiction brave enough to recast characters and historical events to create a new and vivid reality. The winning writer will receive £5,000 and the chance to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders. Visit New Writing North’s website to find out more about the Gordon Burn Prize.
New Writing North The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship (for novelists, poets or playwrights):
The Fellowship supports a creative writer or writers for a period of travel and exists to remember the late writer Julia Darling. The fellowship is worth £2,000 and is supported by a wide range of Julia’s friends and family, including many leading writers. The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship can be used to fund travel in the UK or internationally, and is open to individuals or groups of writers. Applicants must live in the North of England and may be novelists, poets or playwrights and should have at least one professionally produced or published work to their name. Visit New Writing North’s website to find out more about the Travel Fellowship.
Papatango New Writing Prize (for playwrights):
Launched in 2009, the Papatango New Writing Prize is the biggest playwriting award in the UK, attracting more annual entries than any other. Despite this, it is also unique in offering personal feedback, supporting new writers and generating new work for the entire sector. The Prize has long led provision for emerging playwrights, being exceptional in committing to produce and publish as well as award a follow-up commission to its winner. No other company makes such an investment in new talent. Visit Paptango’s website to find out more about the New Writing Prize.
Peggy Poole Award:
The award helps emerging writers develop their craft, and gives poets in the North West of England the chance to win a year of mentoring from a leading poet, running alongside the National Poetry Competition. To be eligible for the Peggy Poole Award, you just need to enter the National Poetry Competition and be living in one of the following postcode regions: BB, BD, BL, CA, CH, CW, FY, IM, L, LA, M, OL, PR, SK, WN and WA. When you make your entry, you’ll be able to opt in to being considered for the award. Last year’s winner was Saiqa Khushnood, who is now being mentored by Malika Booker. To find out more about the Peggy Poole Award visit the National Poetry Society website.
Rebecca Swift Foundation – Women Poets’ Prize:
The Women Poets’ Prize was launched in 2018, a year on from Rebecca’s passing. This unique award seeks to honour Rebecca’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women. The Prize is awarded once every two years to three women poets. Each winner is carefully matched with a poetry mentor and offered pastoral coaching, facilitating a holistic body of support that nurtures craft and personal wellbeing in equal measure. The Prize also offers a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities with the Foundation’s partners: Faber and Faber, The Literary Consultancy, RADA, City Lit, Verve Festival, Bath Spa University, and The Poetry School. In addition to these opportunities which constitute the Women Poets’ Prize professional grant, each successful poet receives a cash bursary of £1,000. The Women Poets’ Prize is free to enter. To find out more about the prize visit Rebecca Swift Foundation’s webite.
Roundhouse Poetry Slam:
The Slam hapens annually and has been running 14 years. If you’re age 18-25 this is a great way to get your poetry recognised, and raise your writing profile. By taking part, you’ll get….
• The chance to showcase your talent in front of live and online audiences.
• The opportunity to make industry contacts, raise your profile and network with peers and professionals in the spoken word industry.
• Have the opportunity to compete for the title of Roundhouse Slam Champion and win a cash prize if you finish in the top three or win the audience vote.
• Finalists’ performances will be professionally filmed and uploaded to the Roundhouse YouTube Channel, which has over 16,000 subscribers. Past finalist videos have been reposted by global online publications and accumulated views in excess of 5 million.
• Cash prizes for the runners up
Visit Roundhouse’s website to find out more about the Poetry Slam.
Royal Society of Literature (RSL) – Literature Matters Awards:
The Award is for writers or other literary creators seeking financial support to work on a new piece of writing or literary project, and aims to reward and enable literary excellence and innovation. Each year, after an open call for proposals, the Awards are given to individual writers or other literary creators, recognising their past achievements and providing them with financial support to undertake a proposed new piece of writing or literary project. Priority will be given to proposals which help connect with audiences or topics outside the usual reach of literature, and / or help generate public discussion about why literature matters. Visit Royal Society of Literature’s website to find out more about the Literature Matters Awards and to apply.
SI Leeds Literary Prize (for unpublished fiction by UK Black and Asian women):
The Prize exists to act as a loudspeaker for Black and Asian women’s voices, enabling fresh and original literary voices from a group disproportionately under-represented in mainstream literary culture to reach new audiences. In addition to providing a platform for these new voices, a key part of the Prize’s ethos is to support our shortlisted writers through a package of speaking events, network development, training and mentoring to enable them to fulfil their potential. The Prize is Leeds-based but national in its remit, and is for Black and Asian women writers aged 18 or over who are resident in the UK. Unusually, it is a prize for unpublished fiction, which makes it distinct from many other literary prizes for which only published works are eligible. The Prize’s focus on unpublished fiction means that, importantly, it encourages the broadest range of entries, separate from publishing trends or expectations about the sorts of book that our eligible writers might choose to write. Previous winners have received a £3,000 award plus a host of additional valuable benefits through the Prize’s unique Prize Plus writer development scheme, including a free place at an Arvon creative writing course; free manuscript assessment of their work from The Literary Consultancy; invitation to New Writing North’s London summer salon event for publishers and agents; workshops and support; speaking engagements, including at Ilkley Literature Festival 2018 and serious consideration for publication by Peepal Tree Press. Visit the SI Leeds website to find out more about the Literary Prize.
Sky Arts & Royal Society of Literature – Writers Awards:
The Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards aim to celebrate and nurture British writers of colour. Five Awards are available, providing each winning writer of colour with ten free mentoring sessions over the course of 12 months with an Royal Society of Literature Fellow writing in their form, as well as two sessions with Awards Ambassador Bernardine Evaristo. The mentors are: Colin Grant, Tanika Gupta, Irenosen Okojie, Pascale Petit and Roy Williams. The forms of writing you can apply to be mentored in are: Screenwriting, Playwriting, Non-fiction, Fiction, and Poetry. Visit the Royal Society of Literature website for more informtion about the Writers Awards and to check when applications next reopen.
Society of Authors’ Awards:
Seven awards are available spanning fiction, poetry, non-fiction and illustrated children’s books. The Society of Authors’ Awards are run for authors and judged by authors, annually recognising the best and most promising voices of the year. Our awards for fiction are open to work from writers at all stages of their careers, from short stories to novels, and we accept submissions from both self-published and traditionally-published authors. We also administer two awards that celebrate the best in non-fiction writing from young authors. Our poetry awards are amongst the most prestigious in the UK. They celebrate excellence in poetry from those just starting out as well those established in their careers. Visit Society of Author’s website to find out more about the annual Awards and how you can apply.
The National Poetry Competition (for unpublished poems):
The 2020 National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s most prestigous prizes for an unpublished poem of up to 40 lines, open to anyone 18 or over. First Prize: £5000, Second Prize: £2000, Third Prize: £1000, Commendations: £200. Applications for the National Poetry Competition are now open and close 31st October 2020. Visit the Poetry Society’s website to find out more about the National Competition and to apply.
UEA New Forms Award:
The Award, worth £4,000 to the winner, will champion an innovative and daring new voice in fiction. It will be awarded to a writer at the beginning of their career whose work might challenge traditional forms or collaborate with other art-forms. The winner will also receive a bespoke period of development, which may include mentoring, learning opportunities and promotional platforms, depending on their ambition and need. To find out more about the UEA New Forms Award, visit the National Centre for Writing website.
Visit National Centre for Writing’s website to find out more about the UEA New Forms Award.
Word Factory Apprenticeship:
They support emerging short story writers to be individually mentored by leading authors for free as part of their renowned Word Factory Apprentice Award. The chosen writers will be talented, supportive of our inclusive ethos and willing to participate in our activities. To qualify, they need to be living in England. They will have access to our events and masterclasses — a programme offering creative inspiration, writer development and collaboration between leading and emerging writers. The award is offered to talented authors on the way to their first collection of stories or beginning to send work out for publication. Please Note: the scheme is not suitable for anyone with novels or collections already published or under contract (self-published and non-fiction books may apply). Visit Word Factory’s website to find out more about the Apprenticeship.
Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition:
For published and aspiring writers alike – enter our free annual short story competition and be in with a chance of winning a place on one of Arvon’s residential writing courses, as well as seeing your story published on the Writers and Artists website. To enter, all you have to do is submit a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words. And that’s it. Unlike previous years, there’s no theme for you to base your story on; all you have to do is make sure you’re registered with the website. To find out more about the Short Story Competition visit the Writers and Artists website.
Publishers / Submission Opportunities
And Other Stories:
They publish some of the best in contemporary writing, including many translations. We aim to push people’s reading limits and help them discover authors of adventurous and inspiring writing. And we want to open up publishing so that from the outside it doesn’t look like some posh freemasonry. For example, as we said in this piece in The Guardian, we think more of the English publishing industry should move out of London, Oxford and their environs. In 2017 we moved our main office to Sheffield and found such a warm welcome. Our Northern Book Prize is a sign of our commitment to new writing from the North of England. And Other Stories is readers, editors, writers, translators and subscribers. While our books are distributed widely through bookshops, it’s our subscribers’ support that makes the books happen. We now have about 1,400 active subscribers in over 40 countries, receiving up to 6 books a year. Visit And Other’s Stories website to find out more about how to submit you work.
Armley Press (based in Leeds):
Armley Press want to be moist, daring, unorthodox, dynamic and give voice to real people. We will share the word in many forms and want to hear from you. Amongst other things, we’ll produce opinionated, campaigning films and blogs. We don’t want Armley Press to be just about book publishing, we want it to be about the communication of ideas and vibes in different formats. So if you have any ideas, get in touch. Armley Press is also interested in working with established writers. We want to support things that increase diverse and unorthodox voices, put out authors that mainstream publishers may appreciate but wouldn’t publish. Although we’ll consider anything, we have a Leeds bias and want to nurture and be part of a cultural power base (countering London and Manchester) called Leeds. Visit the Armley Press website to contact them with any ideas or to submit your writing.
Bloodaxe Books (based in Northumberland):
We have revolutionised poetry publishing in Britain over four decades. Internationally renowned for quality in literature and excellence in book design, our authors and books have won virtually every major literary award given to poetry, from the T.S. Eliot Prize and Pulitzer to the Nobel Prize. And books like the Staying Alive anthology series have broken new ground by opening up contemporary poetry to many thousands of new readers. Grant support from Arts Council England makes it possible for Bloodaxe to publish up to thirty new titles a year by a bold and diverse range of new and established writers from Britain, Ireland, America and many other countries, including poetry in translation and proportionally more collections by women poets than any other British imprint. Poetry publication – some pointers before you contact us:
• Reading: If you do not read much contemporary poetry, or if you write poetry ‘as a hobby’, we’re unlikely to be interested in your work. You may disagree, but we believe that no one can write poetry of quality unless they read other poets and are in touch with the literary culture.
• Magazines: It is advisable to submit poems to magazines before thinking about putting a book together. Such a “track record” is not used by publishers as a guarantee of quality, but as an indication that the writer has spent time building up a publishable collection. Poets under 30 can apply for a Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. This can be a good stepping-stone to publication. For a comprehensive listing of poetry magazines, see these two websites: The Poetry Library (UK) and Poetry Magazines
• Market: Don’t submit to publishers unless you’ve read their books, or to magazines unless you’re familiar with the kind of work they publish. Every imprint is different, and you will not be able to publish much unless you research the field and send to the publishers or magazines whose output you like and respect. You can read back issues of many of the leading British poetry magazines on the Poetry Library’s poetry magazines site (see above).
• Recommended articles: If you’d like to gain a greater understanding of the editorial process, we recommend this article by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley offering advice to new authors in a Guardian poetry guide, and this article by poet Roddy Lumsden from the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook called Approaching a poetry publisher. Visit Bloodaxe’s website to find out more about submitting your work.
Blossom Spring Publishing (based in Manchester):
An independent publishing house with a world-wide distribution. We have been publishing books since 2015 and have published high quality books resulting in award winning titles. We are becoming one of the fastest growing publishers in the industry, offering our readers an exciting range of excellent books and our authors, established or new, a great platform of opportunities. We print paperback as well as e-books and we work with major wholesalers making our books readily available to order from anywhere around the world by independent book shops and chain stores, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and many more. Blossom Spring Publishing is one of the few publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts (that is, those that are not presented to us by an agent and self-published authors). We accept manuscripts for fiction, non-fiction and children’s stories with illustrations. At present they’re particularly interested in:
• Commercial women’s fiction, including historical romance and saga
• Crime and psychological thrillers
• Paranormal and mystery
• Children’s fiction
• Health & well-being
• Food and drink
They don’t accept: poetry, short stories, or stories that carry a theme for one occasion only such as Christmas, Thanks Giving, Easter etc. Visit Blossom Spring’s website to find out more about what they look for in work they publish, and how you can submit your writing.
Bluemoose Books (based in Hebden Bridge):
An independent publisher. Kevin and Hetha Duffy started Bluemoose in 2006 and as a ‘family’ of readers and writers we’re passionate about the written word and stories. Stories are transformative and as publishers we delight in finding great new talent. We don’t have the heft of a London publishing house with the millions of pounds to promote our writers but we do manage through innovative marketing to get our books into high street bookstores and reviewed in the national press. If you’re looking for orange headed celebrity books, you’ve probably come to the wrong place. But if you want brilliant stories that have travelled from Hebden Bridge, across the border into Lancashire, down to London across to Moscow, Sofia and Budapest and into the United States, Australia, India, Colombia and Greenland, Iceland and Bosnia Herzevogina then Bluemoose is the publisher for you. We do not publish children’s books, YA or poetry. Please send the first three chapters and a synopsis. Unfortunately we can’t get back to you straightaway but will do our best to let you know if we want to see the full manuscript hopefully within twelve weeks. Visit the Bluemoose Books website to find out more about how to submit your writing.
Burning Eye Books:
We are a small independent publisher in the South West predominately specialising in promoting spoken word artists, aiming to create an inclusive representation of the best and most promising performance poets. We aim to dispel the assumption that performance poetry does not transfer well to page as well as give emerging and established artist opportunities to be published where they might be rejected from other traditional poetry publishers. We look for the bold, the fearless and the strange, and we pride ourselves on providing a conscious portfolio of brilliant poets and writers. Visit the Burning Eye Books website to find out more about their publishing services and opportunities to submit your poetry.
Carcanet (based in Manchester):
One of the outstanding independent literary publishers of our time, with a focus on poetry. Now in its fifth decade, Carcanet publishes the most comprehensive and diverse list available of modern and classic poetry in English and in translation, as well as a range of inventive fiction, Lives and Letters and literary criticism. Writers wishing to submit poetry should familiarise themselves with Carcanet’s books and with the magazine PN Review. Many Carcanet authors have come to the attention of the Press by way of PN Review. In the first instance, send between six and ten pages of work (poetry or translations) during the submission period. Decisions are usually taken within eight weeks. Writers wishing to propose projects (also during the submission period) should send a synopsis and covering e-mail with sample pages, having first ascertained from the website that the kind of book proposed is suitable for the Carcanet programme. Visit Carcanet’s website to view the full guidelines on submitting your work.
Comma Press (based in Manchester):
A not-for-profit publisher specialising in the short story and fiction in translation. It is committed to a spirit of risk-taking, and aims to put the short story at the heart of contemporary narrative culture. We publish collections by new and established authors, interdisciplinary collaborations between authors and experts, and translation commissions devised to identify cutting-edge (often marginalised) voices from across the world. Comma Press also works as a writer development agency, delivering short story courses throughout the year, and hosting the annual National Creative Writing Industry Day to give every kind of aspiring writer access to advice, knowledge and skills from industry professionals. Comma Press founded the Northern Fiction Alliance in 2016 alongside three other leading independents, Peepal Tree Press, Dead Ink Books and And Other Stories, and have since been joined by a range of publishers such as Bluemoose Books, Saraband and Valley Press. The Alliance is a radical publishing collective devised to showcase the creativity, diversity and outward-looking agenda that sets publishers in the North of England apart. Visit Comma Press’s website to find out more about how you can submit your work.
Faber & Faber (based in London):
Founded in 1929 in London, Faber is one of the world’s great publishing houses. Our list of authors includes thirteen Nobel Laureates and six Booker Prize-winners. We are proud to publish the foremost voices in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama, with writers including T. S. Eliot, Ted Hughes, Harold Pinter, Sylvia Plath, William Golding, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and Kazuo Ishiguro. Every week our Editors are inundated with manuscripts, but the reality is that we can no longer accept unsolicited submissions. We will no longer look at or enter into correspondence about unsolicited works of fiction, non-fiction, plays, screenplays or children’s books. We will, however, continue to accept poetry submissions. If you are intending to submit your poetry, please make sure to read the following guidelines carefully. Visit Faber’s website to find out more about submitting your work.
Fisher King Publishing (based in West Yorkshire):
They publish all kinds of fiction and non-fiction, as long as you understand what they want. You can familiarize yourself more with what they are looking on the website. Visit the Fisher King Publishing website to find out more about submitting your writing.
Indolent Books (based in New York):
A nonprofit poetry press with staff working remotely around the country. In our books and on our website, Indolent publishes innovative, provocative, and risky work by poets and writers who are queer, trans, nonbinary (or gender nonconforming), intersex, women (of all races and ethnicities), people of color (of all genders), people living with HIV, people with histories of addiction, abuse, and other traumatic experiences, and other poets and writers who are underrepresented or marginalized, or whose work has particular relevance to issues of racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. Visit Indolent’s website to find out more about submitting your work.
Lantana (based on Oxford):
Lantana specialise in Children’s books, but may consider non-fiction and poetry across all ages. In the United Kingdom, a third of school children identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic yet fewer than 5% of children’s books feature main characters of colour and fewer than 2% of children’s book creators are British authors of colour. The picture is even bleaker for those who identify with marginalised groups relating to class, gender, sexuality, health and ability. At Lantana, we’re changing the game by publishing inclusive books that celebrate our differences. We actively seek out stories by authors who make a diverse range of lived experiences accessible to young children. At Lantana, we are actively seeking under-represented voices. This means that if you feel you and your experiences weren’t represented on the shelves of bookshops when you were growing up, and especially if those experiences still aren’t often represented now, we want to hear from you. Picture books have been our heartland since we began, but we are also keen to expand into books for older readers. We do, on occasion, consider narrative non-fiction and poetry across the age spectrum, so if you feel that you’re offering is exceptional, please do submit it following the same instructions as for a fiction author. Visit Lantana’s website to find out more about submitting your writing.
Lendal Press (based in Scarborough):
We are currently looking for manuscripts of fiction and non-fiction for publication by Lendal Press in 2021. Novels, short stories, flash fiction, memoirs, essays – we’re open to all fiction/non-fiction projects. At the moment, the majority of our opportunities are for authors willing to work with us via a hybrid publishing arrangement. Hybrid publishing is the middle ground between “self-publishing”, where the author takes sole responsibility for the financial investment in their book and the key decisions regarding it, and “traditional publishing”, where a publishing house bears all the financial risk and – in most cases – calls the shots with regard to editing, design, production and promotion. Put simply, the “hybrid” model works as follows: if you are willing to contribute half of an agreed budget for publishing your book (or raise it via crowdfunding), Lendal Press will match your investment, and we’ll work together to make your book as successful as possible. As well as one of the brightest young editors working in the UK, and world-class text and cover designers, we are working with Newcastle-based sales and marketing agency Inpress; “the UK’s specialist in selling books produced by independent publishers” – so in theory, everything is in place for Lendal titles to take the literary world by storm. Visit the Lendal Press website to find out more about how to submit your work.
Mira Publishing (based in Leeds and London):
• We publish fiction and non-fiction based on contemporary topics
• We carefully select our titles to enrich international literature
• We give opportunities to fresh, young talents in writing
• We try to bridge the cultural gaps between nations by publishing books from different countries
• We give fair deals to authors who publish with us
• We publish in English and other languages
• We work towards making the books available and affordable to any reader
• We are the exclusive distributor for some publishers and self-published authors
• We use and support green publishing techniques
• We employ volunteers who are interested in the publishing industry
Visit Mira’s Publishing’s website to find out more about how to submit your writing.
Peepal Tree Press (based in Leeds):
The world’s leading publisher of Caribbean and Black British writing. We publish around 20 titles a year. Founded in 1986, Peepal Tree’s publishing programme has brought readers the best of international writing from the Caribbean, its diasporas and Black British writers. See our website for details of what we publish. We aim to reply to 90% of all submissions within 12 weeks. You can submit Non-Fiction, Fiction, and poetry. Visit the Peepal Tree Press webaite to find out more about how to submit your writing.
Penned In The Margins (based in London):
They create publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. “A marvellously exciting venture, bringing together the worlds of experimentalism and performance, always looking for new ways to present the spoken and written word in a time of artistic flux. The mainstream will, in the future, be redefined and enriched by companies like Penned in the Margins.”
– Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster. From modest beginnings as a reading series in a converted railway arch in south London, Penned in the Margins has grown over the last 15 years into an award-winning small arts organisation producing new work live, in print and online. Visit Penned in the Margin’s website to find out more about submitting your work.
Pen & Sword Books:
Pen and Sword authors come from a wide range of backgrounds. They are freelance writers, university lecturers, journalists, local historians, novelists, and people from many other walks of life with a passion for history. You don’t need to have already published a book to be considered, but if you have previous professional writing experience do tell us about it. The authors of successful proposals tend to display the following traits:
• A good depth of knowledge, and a passion for exploring, their chosen subject area.
• A clear, accessible writing style.
• An understanding of the market their book would be going into and knowledge of existing titles in the area.
• A willingness to market that their book using blogging, social media, as well as more traditional media.
We’ll review every proposal that we receive, although due to the high volume of submissions we cannot always reply to unsuccessful proposals and we are not able to provide critiques of manuscripts. As of October 2020 they were no longer accepting Fiction proposal. Check Pen & Sword’s website to see what they’re currently looking for and find out how to submit your writing.
Route Publishing Limited (based in Sheffield):
A publishing house with a principle commitment to authentic stories and good books. Our titles have been bestowed with Book of the Year Awards from Rolling Stone Magazine, Mojo, Rough Trade, Guardian, Northern Soul, Morning Star and Reader’s Digest, and have been deemed worthy of being shortlisted for the James Tait Memorial Prize for Fiction, Penderyn Music Book Prize, NME Book Award, Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award and PEN Ackerley Prize. We are a small but dedicated team who give a lot of care and attention to the books we publish. We only take on a handful of titles per year at most, even less from open submissions, and need to be convinced that books we commission are within our remit, that we can add value and are viable enough to support through sales. We don’t guarantee to reply to all submissions – we will reply if we want to see more. Visit Route Publishing’s website to find out more about submitting your writing.
Scratching Shed Publishing (based in Leeds):
Founded in 2008 by Tony Hannan, Phil Caplan, and a few authors, occasional broadcasters, and journalists from Yorkshire, Scratching Shed Publishing is an independent company based in Leeds. Although their main focus used to be the northern English culture, the range of interests has widened in the past years, as their list now includes both national and international authors, as well as the rugby league magazine Forty20. Some of the genres you can find on their website are humour, general non-fiction, boxing, horse racing, history, scripts, travel & tourism, fiction, current affairs, football, and politics. They are happy to receive unsolicited manuscripts from prospective authors or their agents. Please get in touch by email in the first instance to introduce your idea.
Visit Scratching Shed Publishing’s website to find out more about how to submit your writing.
Sharon House Publishing (based in West Yorkshire):
A publishing house based in West Yorkshire that publishes children’s books only. We offer a service to authors wishing to publish their books. We will endeavour to market, publicise and sell our clients’ finished book. We believe everyone has a story and we want to help him or her tell it. Visit Sharon House Publishing’s website to find out more how to submit your children’s book.
Tartarus Press (based in North Yorkshire):
A small, British independent press founded in 1990. We specialise in collectable hardback limited editions of literary supernatural/strange/horror fiction, and we also publish paperbacks and ebooks. We have been the recipient of five World Fantasy Awards (as recently as 2015), and in 2010 received a “Stoker” from the Horror Writers Association. Visit the Tartarus Press website to find out more about how to submit your work.
Valley Press (based in Scarborough):
An independent publishing house. We publish poetry, including collections, pamphlets and the occasional anthology; fiction (including novels and collections of short stories) and non-fiction, including memoirs and travel writing. Visit the Valley Press website to find out more about how to submit your work.
Arts Council England (ACE): Visit ACE to search for the latest literature jobs.