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