The London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme, opens for submissions for the second year today. Geared towards supporting writers at the start of their careers, the Emerging Writers Programme supported 38 writers in 2019.

The Programme offers writers one year’s membership of The London Library (which normally costs £540 per year) alongside writing development masterclasses, networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. 

The Programme will run from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. This is slightly later than originally advertised due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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. 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.

The closing date for applications is 19 February 2020; applications will then be selected anonymously by a panel of judges. The judges for the Emerging Writers Programme 2020 are

  • Bidisha (broadcaster, writer and film maker)
  • Isabelle Dupuy, Chair (writer and London Library Trustee)
  • Eleanor Greene (Executive Producer, Drama at Wall to Wall Productions)
  • Daniel Hahn (writer and translator)
  • Karen McCarthy Woolf (poet)
  • Amy Rosenthal (playwright)
  • Anna Whitwham (novelist)
  • Agents at AM Heath

The first year of the Emerging Writers Programme will end in May, with many of the writers currently on the scheme enjoying increased awareness for their writing from the publishing industry as well as benefitting from the use of the Library and the development and peer support aspects of the scheme. As participants Anna Kahn and Finnian Brewer explain:

“The programme has given me thoughtful conversations with other writers, techniques and tactics for researching and writing, plus access to a huge warren of books and online resources I'd never have found for myself.  Conversations resulting from the programme helped me find my agent and I'm so excited to see what I can do next year with the boost all this has given me!” Anna Kahn

“I’ve taken away with me many useful pieces of advice from meetings and workshops at The London Library throughout the year and I’ve been motivated and inspired by the work of the other writers on the programme. I’ve used the Library as both a writing space and as a research hub and the Library has purchased new books for me that I wouldn’t normally have been able to afford. I couldn’t have had a better environment in which to finish my first novel and start applications for a PhD in literature.” Finnian Brewer

The Emerging Writers Programme has been established with the help of London Library supporters including literary agency AM Heath, The Golden Bottle Trust, The Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust and the Julio and Maria Marta Núñez Memorial Fund, and aims to fund up to 40 places per year.

Under the Emerging Writers Programme, successful applicants will get free access to the Library’s unique collection which includes over one million books and over 2,500 different periodicals, most of which is on open shelves and can be borrowed. Membership also includes access to extensive online resources and dedicated writing and research spaces in the Library’s extraordinary building in central London.

The Emerging Writers Programme draws on the Library’s long association with writers and thinkers. Many writers, including Virginia Woolf, Bram Stoker, Aldous Huxley and Tom Stoppard began their literary careers at the Library and thousands continue to draw on the Library to explore and develop their work.

Isabelle Dupuy, Chair of judges comments: "I moved to this country with a job in the City. Later when I decided to start writing I had two small children at home and the London Library offered me not just the space and the resources to start my novel but most importantly the permission. Writing can be a hard and lonely journey. Not many cities in this world offer a hub of creativity as open and accessible as the London Library and I am honoured to be a judge on this year's Emerging Writers' Programme. We are very excited to receive your applications. I look forward to welcoming the cohort of 2020.”

Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library, comments: “It’s been fantastic to see the first group of writers enjoying the benefits of the Emerging Writers Programme and taking the next steps in their writing careers. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to help our emerging writers form supportive networks. A sense of community has always been at the heart of the Library and I am delighted that we are able to continue developing this further with a second cohort of emerging writers.”

Euan Thorneycroft, Literary Agent at AM Heath comments: “Recent evidence shows that effective arts education can promote creativity and innovation. But without further opportunities for writers to pursue their passion, this creation and innovation will be lost. Which is why we are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Emerging Writers Programme at the London Library. Not only does it offer a fantastic resource for writers who might otherwise find it hard to access opportunities for development, but it also gives them the chance to meet and mix with other writers and is an invaluable source of inspiration and support.”

Applications for the 20/21 Cohort are now closed.