Word Factory Apprentice Award Application
The National Mentoring Scheme For Short Story Writers
We are seeking four emerging short story writers to be individually mentored by leading authors for FREE as part of our renowned Word Factory Apprentice Award running from July 2019-March 2020.
The chosen writers will be talented, supportive of our inclusive ethos and willing to participate in our activities. They will have access to our events and masterclasses — a programme offering creative inspiration, writer development and collaboration between leading and emerging writers.
SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS WILL ALSO:
- Be invited to read their work with their mentor at a special Word Factory event in London.
- Receive free membership to the Society of Authors.
- Become part of the distinguished Word Factory Apprentice Award alumnae. Previous winners have achieved industry recognition including publication with independent and mainstream publishers such as Salt and Faber; awards and shortlistings including the Guardian BAME prize, Bath Flash Fiction Prize and Wasafiri prize; reviewing for journals and publications including the TLS, Economist and New Statesman and representation by leading literary agents.
- Be eligible for a series of NEW bursaries to ensure writers from anywhere in England can benefit. We will also consider writers from other parts of the United Kingdom but our bursaries only cover writers resident in England.
The Word Factory Apprentice Award is celebrating its sixth year with a series of partnerships offering additional financial and developmental support to short story writers who live outside London. We would like to thank Arts Council England, who have offered specific funding to strengthen the national reach of the award. We are also delighted that the Northern Writers’Awards and New Writing North, will support a northern short story writer and mentor for the second year — and to be joined this year by Writing West Midlands and their Room 204 Writer Development Programme (supporting a writer from the West Midlands) and Literature Works, the writer development agency for South West England (supporting a writer from the south-west).
How To Apply
We are open to applicants from throughout the UK, and can offer small bursaries to cover the expense of travelling to London and/or meeting your mentor for writers living in England. Please read the following instructions carefully if you are a writer living in the north, the West Midlands or the South-West of England.
The award is offered to talented authors on the way to their first collection of stories or beginning to send work out for publication. In exchange, we look for individuals willing to support other writers and be part of the growing team.
The Word Factory is London based but this is no barrier to working with writers from across the UK. We are committed to opening the award to writers with no access to literary mentorship and from communities who are often excluded. At least one place a year is held open for talented BAME writers.
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). Also, application is only open to residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Bursaries are focussed on writers living in England.
Application is simple:
You will need to send us two files: your best 2,000 word story (or part of a story) and 500 words explaining both what you intend to work on during your mentorship and what skills and commitment you will bring to the Word Factory. In the past, our apprentices have offered some of the following: social media skills; helping us run events; creating a flash fiction prize; supporting the running of festivals. In your letter, please tell us where you live and whether you have a BAME background.
What you do:
- Use the link below to apply and pay a £10* admin fee.
- Full details on how to send us your files will be included in your receipt.
- Lastly, email us your story and supporting letter.
*Please note: there is an admin fee but the year’s mentoring and Word Factory membership is entirely free. Unwaged applicants or those who can’t afford this fee can still apply. Please send your story, covering letter and short explanation of your circumstances direct to Paul McVeigh at firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT – You need to apply separately if:
- You live in the North of England
- You live in the West Midlands
- You live in the South-West
Please look at this BOUNDARIES MAP for the purposes of this award.
If you live in the North of England:
One place is open to a writer living in the North who will also be offered a bursary to attend events in London, developmental support and access to other opportunities near to home. The northern apprentice will also benefit from our new partnership with independent publisher and short story champions, Comma Press, offering our northern winner publishing opportunities on at least four anthology projects over two years. This award also sponsors a northern mentor — this year, Carys Davies.
To apply for the Northern apprentice place, follow this link: www.northernwritersawards.com
If you live in the West Midlands:
One place is open to a writer living in the West Midlands. In partnership with the Word Factory, Writing West Midlands will select a winner to become a Word Factory Apprentice as part of their Room 204 programme.
To apply for the West Midlands apprentice place, follow this link: www.writingwestmidlands.org and click on Room 204 Writer Development.
If you live in the South-West:
One place is open to a writer living in the Sout-West.
For further information about how to apply via Literature Works and about their work supporting writers in the South West, follow this link: Literature Works Apprentice Application page.
- Applications OPEN on November 16th 2018.
Please follow the separate application process if you live in the North, South-West or West Midlands.
- Applications CLOSE on February 7th 2019 at 11:30PM.
- WINNERS INFORMED May 2019.
- Announcements at the Word Factory and Northern Writers’ Awards June 2019.
- Mentorship completes March 2020.
Due to the high numbers of applications expected, we will not be contacting you if your application has been unsuccessful. Good luck! Look forward to seeing you in 2019.
Our 2019/209 mentors bring a vast range of experience to the award — plus a passionate commitment to the literary and social values of the Word Factory. We are delighted to announce that they are: Chris Power, Lisa Blower, Leone Ross and Carys Davies.
General applications will be judged by the two founders of the award — Word Factory founder and director Cathy Galvin and associate director Paul McVeigh, and this year they are joined by renowned short story writer Irenosen Okojie. Word Factory will also be involved in the final decision-making with our other partners in the north, south-west and West Midlands.
Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our scheme to date, most particularly our previous mentors Adam Marek; Stella Duffy; Alex Preston; Nicholas Royle; Jacob Ross; Vanessa Gebbie; Professor Ailsa Cox; Alexei Sayle; Zoe Gilbert; Jarred McGinnis; Nikesh Shukla; Courttia Newland; Tom Lee; K.J.Orr and Jenn Ashworth.
Trusted relationships are vital to the development of a writer. Our apprentices — Rebecca Swirsky, Holly Dawson, Kerstin Twatchmann, Uschi Gatward, Claire Adam, Divya Ghelani, Emily Devane, Melissa Fu, Durre Shawar, Avani Shah, Fergus Evans, Natalia Theodoridou, Georgina Aboud, Farhana Khalique and Sharon Telfer — have all become members of the Word Factory team in addition to winning awards and being published in leading magazines and journals.
The Word Factory Apprentice programme is a truly remarkable award that invites and fosters growth. The Word Factory masterclasses and salons have not only inspired me to improve my own craft but have also challenged me to use writing to connect with others and build understanding. With Zoe Gilbert’s generous mentorship, I have grown so much, taking risks and experimenting with form. I have loved every aspect of the award and highly recommend that aspiring writers apply for 2018. It is a wonderful community and I am so proud to be part of it.
Working with Nikesh has been amazing for both my ego and my word count. With his support and advice, my novel has grown in ways I couldn’t have expected. As for the community – the Word Factory gang have welcomed me with open arms. I’ve found myself a part of a group of readers and writers who cheer each other on, share work, and always have great suggestions for what to read next.