The following videos will help you to use and navigate the new Catalyst system. You can also download PDF guides to assist you.

Guide to searching Catalyst

Guide to searching the print materials

Please note, if you are experience a 'Log in failed' message when you sign in please ensure you have removed any capital letters from your email address.

Navigating the Catalyst homepage

Searching for and requesting books

Searching for articles

Advanced Search

Searching Techniques

Catalyst E-Shelf

Managing your account

Frequently Asked Questions

NB: Most of the answers to these questions can be found in the Application Guidelines or on our website here.

The most important things to remember are:

  • Read the Application Guidelines and Eligibility Criteria carefully
  • Follow the instructions on the Applications Form carefully
  • Do not exceed the wordcount in your writing sample

How do I apply to the Emerging Writers Programme?
You can find a link to both the Application Guidelines and the online Application Form here:

Is there an age limit on applications?
The Programme is open to anyone of any age over 16. A question on the Application Form asks you to tick the box if you are aged 16-29 as we have two funders specifically interested in supporting those applicants, but we welcome applications from anybody 16 years old or over.

I do not live in the UK, can I apply?
The Programme is open to any resident of the UK, whatever your nationality, though you must be a resident in the UK for the entire duration of the Programme. If you are planning to move to the UK but you are not yet resident here, you can let us know within one of your statements on the Application Form.

I do not live in London, is this a problem?
The Programme is open to writers living anywhere in the UK. However, applicants must be committed to attending all Emerging Writers Programme events (which include peer support meetings) at the Library (Covid-19 restrictions allowing). We may be able to offer a travel bursary to enable attendance at events. This will be allocated on a case-by-case basis. You may also be eligible for the Virago Participation Bursary. See the bottom of the Emerging Writers Programme webpage for details.

How often and what day of the week are the Programme events?
Events take place once a month and all events take place on weekday evenings. The launch will be held in the evening of 8 July 2021 and the end-of-Programme event will be the evening of 30 June 2022. Events are currently held from 7-8.30pm on the third Wednesday of each month. This is likely to continue into next year.

Will Covid-19 affect the 2021-22 Programme?
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 (much of this year’s Programme has successfully been adapted to take place online).

I have access requirements. Will that affect my ability to take part in the Programme?
No. We will work with you to make sure your requirements are met so that you can participate fully in the Programme.

What kinds of writing do you accept on the Programme?
The Programme is open to writers of any genre and our judging panel have expertise in multiple areas. We will be looking for a diverse range of projects, genres and writing styles when selecting the cohort of Emerging Writers.

I have previously published a poetry pamphlet/chapbook. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have work published online/in a newspaper. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have had a play performed at a fringe theatre. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have had a short film made. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have had work published by an academic publisher. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

My short stories have been published in journals/anthologies. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have previously self-published. Can I apply?
Yes. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have an agent but they have not yet sold my book. Can I apply?
Yes. But please let us know if anything changes.

I am a published author but I still think I would benefit from the Programme. Can I apply?
No. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have a contract with a publisher but my book is not yet out. Can I apply?
No. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

I have had work published before but it was a long time ago. Can I still apply?
No. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

The project I want to work on during the Programme is a literary translation. Can I apply?
Yes. Please do! We do not see enough translation submissions. But please make sure your submission is in English.

The project I want to work on during the Programme is a graphic novel. Can I apply?
Yes. Please do! We do not see enough graphic novel submissions.

I have been writing a long time for pleasure, am I an emerging writer?
We believe you can ‘emerge’ at any time or at any age. As long as you have not had your work professionally published or produced, you are eligible. Please see the guidelines for our definition of an emerging writer here.

Can I apply with more than one writing project?
You can, as long as they are on the same Application Form. Only one entry per person is permitted.

Can I include more than one sample of my writing?
Yes, as long as they are on the same document and you do not exceed the word count.

Can my writing sample be an excerpt from something or should it be a complete piece? What if I don’t have an example of work from my proposed project?
You can upload any sample of writing you like but please make sure it relates to your proposal – i.e. the same genre - and please make sure it does not exceed the word count. You will see in the Application Form, that if you are submitting something different to your proposed project, you can tell us a little about the piece you’ve submitted.

My script is in Final Cut. Can I submit it in that format?
No. We will not be able to open the document. Please submit it as a word document or PDF. Also, make sure you don’t leave your name anywhere on your writing sample.

What happens if my writing sample exceeds the word count?
Your application will be disqualified if you exceed the word count.

What happens if my name appears anywhere in my answers to Section 2 of the Application Form, or on my writing sample?
Your application will be disqualified. This is to ensure the judges can judge anonymously. Please check carefully. And do not include your website or social media handles because that amounts to the same thing!

What exactly are the judges looking for?
Primarily: great ideas; great writing; genuine interest in The London Library; and a clear commitment and desire to participate fully on the Programme.

Can I use the Programme to work on my PhD/MA?
In theory, yes. But please bear in mind that you will be expected to fully participate in the Programme – which includes writing development masterclasses, peer support meetings and other gatherings. If your primary interest is in Library membership, please look into the different tiers of membership available. You might also consider applying for Supported Membership. The details are here.

My primary interest in applying is membership of the Library rather than the other elements of the Programme. Should I apply?
Please do not apply if you are not interested in participating in every element of the Programme. You will be taking a place from somebody who could benefit more. You are very welcome to join the Library. If you cannot afford the full fee, you might want to consider applying for Supported Membership or we have a variety of other membership options which might be more suited to your needs or budget.  All the membership type details are here.

I am already a member of The London Library, can I apply?
Yes!

I used to work at The London Library, can I apply?
Yes!

The deadline has passed. Will you still except my submission?
No. The online system will not accept submissions beyond the deadline. We receive a high volume of submissions and have a tight turnaround to get them to the judges so we are very strict about this. Please make sure you give yourself enough time to get your submission together and allow for last minute computer crashes etc.

…What if I have a really good excuse?
Even if you have a really good excuse!

When will I learn the outcome of my application?
We will let all applicants know the outcome of their application in early June. The Programme starts on 1 July.

Do you provide feedback on unsuccessful applications?
We receive a high volume of applications so we are unable to give feedback. But you are welcome to apply again next time around.

I am not eligible for the Programme. Can I still join The London Library?
The London Library is open to everyone. If you cannot afford the full fee, you might want to consider applying for Supported Membership or we have a variety of other membership options which might be more suited to your needs or budget.  All the membership type details are here.

As a membership organisation we take the security of your data seriously and as such we are upgrading our systems to meet modern security standards.  From 4pm on Tuesday 19 January you will no longer use your membership number and PIN to log into Catalyst or our electronic resources.

The new system will go live on Thursday 21 January and in order to access the full range of electronic resources and catalogue features you will need to sign up to the single sign-on service. This will allow access to all of our online resources. 

  • To sign up click on sign in on the Catalyst home page and then members sign in

CATALYST1A

  • To begin the sign up process, click on sign up now

CATALYST3

  • Enter your 5-digit Membership Number and email address. Then click send verification code If the email address is the same as the one recorded on your membership record you will be sent a verification code. The code is valid for 15 minutes.  If you do not use it within that time you will need to have the code resent.
  • If you have no email address recorded on your membership, or if you wish to update it, please contact our Membership team (020) 7766 4720 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CATALYST4

  • Enter the code that was emailed to you and click verify code

CATALYST5

  • When your code has been verified you can continue to set your own password
  • This needs to be at least 8 characters in length and could take the form of a passphrase, three unlinked words that are memorable and meaningful to you but to no one else (for example, redbracketscissors). You do not need to include any numbers, capitals or punctuation unless you wish to.

CATALYST6

  • Click create
  • The signup is now complete and in the future you should use this email and password combination to log into the Library’s electronic services.
  • If you forget your password, you can use the Forgot your password? option on the sign in page to reset it.

CATALYSTFORGOT

  • If you have any problems with the sign up process, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Please note, if you are experience a 'Log in failed' message please ensure you have removed any capital letters from your email address.

Applications are now OPEN

The London Library Emerging Writers Programme, now in its third year, is a unique opportunity which offers writers, in all genres, one year’s free membership of The London Library and includes writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. With its rich cultural heritage, extensive open access book collection, dedicated writing spaces and its diverse community of established writers, the benefits of Library membership are invaluable.

For 180 years The London Library has played a central role in inspiring writers and researchers, and has helped them explore and develop their work. From Charles Dickens to Sarah Waters, Aldous Huxley to Angela Carter, Virginia Woolf to Kazuo lshiguro, T.S. Eliot to V.S. Naipaul, writers have consistently found it to be an unrivalled resource.

The London Library Emerging Writers Programme is open to anyone over 16 years of age who is committed to pursuing a career in and developing their writing. Applicants should be working, or planning to work, on a specific project, with the aim of publication or production, have a clear idea of how they might use the Library’s resources to achieve that aim and be willing to fully participate in all elements of the Programme. There is no application fee and participation on the Programme is funded. (Please see the Application Guidelines for more eligibility details.)

The Programme runs from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 and 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 (much of this year’s Programme has successfully been adapted to take place online).

Applicants will be selected anonymously by a panel of judges including: travel writer and London Library Trustee Sara Wheeler (Chair), Publishing Director at Virago, Abacus and Little, Brown Ailah Ahmed, YA and adult fiction writer Sareeta Domingo, screenwriter Karim Flint, poet Will Harris, playwright and screenwriter Alexis Zegerman, novelist, memoirist and writing mentor Tim Lott, and agents from A M Heath.

Applications close at 11am on 5 March 2021.

We ask that you please read through the Application Guidelines (including Eligibility Criteria) carefully before you submit your application. If you have any further questions, please refer to the FAQs page. Or contact the Programme Team, on 0207 766 4765 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The London Library Emerging Writers Programme is only possible because of the generous support The London Library has received from A M Heath Literary Agency, Sir Max Hastings, The International Friends of the London Library and the US Founders Circle, the Julio and Maria Marta Núñez Memorial Fund, and other anonymous donors. If you are interested in supporting the Emerging Writers Programme please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or donate online. 

The Virago Participation Bursary has been funded by Virago Books to support Black women and Black writers from other underrepresented genders to overcome any financial barriers that would prevent them from accessing the full Programme, including travel costs, supporting 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.

Download Application Guidelines

Apply online now

View this year's cohort

View this year's anthology