The Bookseller – News – Spread the Word reveals 2022 London Writers Cohort

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London-based writers agency Spread the Word today announced the names of 30 writers who have been shortlisted for its London Writers Awards 2022 development programme.

The 10-month program returns for a fourth year and will support 30 writers from underrepresented backgrounds to meet publishers and agents.

Writers will begin their program at the Writers’ Lab on February 26. They will participate in fortnightly critical commentary groups to grow and develop their work, participate in nine masterclasses led by writers and industry professionals, and benefit from a variety of development opportunities with editors, agents and the Spread the Word team. The program will conclude with an industry networking day where winners will be presented to Spread the Word agents, publishers and partners.

Rishi Dastidar, Chairman of Spread the Word Trustees, said: “I am delighted that the London Writers Awards are once again able to showcase a wonderfully talented group of people from diverse backgrounds who are underrepresented in traditional publishing. The program remains unique in that it gives these individuals the opportunity to develop their skills so that they are then ready to launch their careers as professional writers. In both fiction and non-fiction genres, it’s a joy to be able to work with these writers so their stories can be told on the biggest stages possible.

The 2022 cohort, selected from 176 applications, comes from diverse backgrounds, writing in literary fiction, commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, and children’s/children’s fiction. These include Mark O’Brien, a broadcaster for the Houses of Parliament, Tomek Mossakowski, a professional baker, Rachel Marangozov, a director of MigrationWork CIC, Tia Bannon, a Rada-trained actress and artist, Amelia Giudici, a primary school teacher, Chris Bridges, an NHS nurse, and Mayo Agard-Olubo, writer and poet.

“As a literary agent, I have followed the London Writers Awards for several years, attracted by the real change it is bringing to the publishing industry and the quality of writing it champions” , said Matt Turner, agent at RCW and judge of the London Writers Awards. “He is a vital advocate for underrepresented and marginalized communities and his support package – mentorship, creative and professional guidance – is designed to provide his cohort with success and the opportunity to be read and heard. In doing so, the London Writers Awards help to make the literary world more accessible and, above all, richer and more comprehensive.”

Spread the Word has also established an alumni network for the 87 past award winners to facilitate ongoing craft, career, and networking opportunities. To date, 31 of the writers who have completed the program now have agents, with 17 book deals confirmed for authors including Natasha Brown, Tice Cin, Cecile Pin and Henry Fry.

The full list of London Writers Award winners is as follows:
literary fiction
Alex White
Aparna Surendra
Joe Rizzo Naudi
Lena Mohamed
Lizzie Clark
Mark O’Brien
Monica Kam
Nadege Rene
Oisin McKenna
Rachel Marangozov
Ulka Karandikar
William Andrews.

commercial fiction
Chris Bridges
FQ Yeoh
Ijeoma Okoye
Keah Lily
Hookz the writer
Sharon Sylvain

Narrative non-fiction
Jenny Newman
Kayleigh Cassidy
Lorraine Him
Rebecca White
S.J. Lyon
Tia Bannon.

YA/Children’s Fiction
Alka Handa
Amelie Giudici
Kiana Thorpe
Mayo Agard-Olubo
Mel Pettit
Tomek Mosakowski

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