Orion launches new scheme for underrepresented writers

A new literary scheme Space To Write is looking to support writers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who want to write or are already writing commercial fiction. Launched with Orion Publishing, Metro.co.uk and The Arvon Foundation, the project is inspired by Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams’ journey to success. The Project aims to give prospective authors the access, time and space to write. Bestselling author Jojo Moyes invited Carty-Williams to stay in her holiday home as a writing retreat. There, she completed the first draft of Queenie, and eventually went on to win the Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2020.

The Space to Write Project will advise on the writing and publishing process, helping break down the barriers and boundaries to bestselling success. With this spirit in mind, the Project has three stages:

·         The first stage of the Project will focus on access. We will run a series of free online seminars, featuring key industry figures and published authors who will tackle a range of topics from plot-building to pitching.

·         The second stage is a call for submissions, open from 26th May to 19th June 2022. All we will need is the first 5,000 words of your novel, a synopsis of up to 1,000 words and an elevator pitch of up to 100 words. Then, our judges will get to work. Our judging panel includes: Editorial Director of Trapeze and author Sareeta Domingo; journalist and author Mike Gayle, Literary Agent and Managing Director of David Higham Associates Lizzy Kremer; and Deputy Features Editor of Metro.co.uk and author Natalie Morris.

·         The final stage focuses on giving the winners time and space. A shortlist will be announced on Monday 1st August, with up to four winners announced on Friday 30th September. They will receive a place on a five-night residential writing course run by the Arvon Foundation, in a writing house situated in either Devon, Yorkshire or Shropshire. Alternatively, they may choose a five-day online Arvon ‘At Home Writing Week’ course, plus a two-hour online Arvon ‘At Home Masterclass’ course, delivered via Zoom.