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Virago and the Emerging Writers Programme

Virago Participation Bursary

Virago Participation Bursary

Virago have partnered with the London Library on their Emerging Writers Programme, which offers unpublished writers, in all genres, one year’s membership of The London Library alongside writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. Virago will be supporting the programme with a participation bursary, to support Black women writers and Black writers from other underrepresented genders to overcome financial barriers that would prevent them from accessing the full Emerging Writers Programme. This support includes any financial costs, travel costs, costs associated with childcare or other caring responsibilities and any other costs incurred in order to participate fully in the Programme. Successful applicants who are eligible will be invited to apply for the bursary on acceptance of their place on the Programme. The Virago Participation Bursary will run alongside the Emerging Writers Programme for the next three years.


Sarah Savitt, Publisher at Virago Press says: ‘We at Virago read and supported the Black Writers’ Guild open letter published in June 2020 calling for action against racial inequality within the British publishing industry, and setting up this bursary was one of the ways we decided to respond. We are a feminist publishing company and know that women and people from other underrepresented genders – particularly if they are also people of colour – often face extra challenges in accessing writing development programmes and we hope this bursary will make a meaningful difference to a group of writers each year. Publishers can’t exist without writers – and readers – and we know that The London Library is a wonderful place for both.’


The closing date for applications is 5 March 2021; applications will then be selected anonymously by a panel of judges. The judges for the Emerging Writers Programme 2021 are: Virago editor Ailah Ahmed; YA and adult fiction writer Sareeta Domingo; screenwriter and previous EWP participant Karim Flint; Forward Prize winning poet Will Harris; agents from A M Heath; and travel writer and London Library trustee Sara Wheeler (chair).


Background information

The Emerging Writers Programme runs from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. Successful applicants will be invited to a Programme Launch on 8 July 2021. The programme is designed to take place as much as possible at the Library. However, it will be adapted to move online as much as is required according to Covid-19 restrictions.


The Library’s Emerging Writers Programme is open to anyone who is committed to pursuing a career in writing (for publication or performance) and wants to develop their work. It aims to fund 40 places per year. Applicants should be working on, or planning, a specific project which will make extensive use of the Library’s resources and is intended for publication or production. The Programme is targeted at emerging writers who have not yet published a full-length work of fiction, non-fiction or a collection of poems, or had a full-length work professionally produced for mainstream film, TV or the stage.


For further information, rules, eligibility requirements and how to apply go to
londonlibrary.co.uk/emerging-writers and please contact emergingwriters@londonlibrary.co.uk with any queries about applying.