PRH Selects Eight New Writers For WriteNow Mentorship Program
Eight new writers have been chosen to join this year’s Penguin Random House UK WriteNow mentorship program, with a focus on writers for children.
Work in progress ranges from a powerful and uplifting picture book about a non-binary child entering a new school, to a dark and magical Victorian adventure and fun storytelling for middle school students.
Over the next 12 months, the authors will work closely with an expert editor in their genre to develop their manuscript and prepare it for publication.
Since WriteNow launched in 2016, 800 writers across the UK and Ireland have been part of the program and around 50 writers have joined the editorial program, of which 15 have already been published or acquired by Penguin Random House printers, including a number published by Penguin Random House Kids. These include Burhana Islam, author of Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World (Puffin) Gareth Peter, author of my dads (Puffin) and Eternal star (Puffin) and Manjeet Mann, author of The passage (Penguin) and Run, rebel (Penguin).
Francesca Dow, Executive Director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said, âEach of these eight new writers shares our mission to spark the imaginations of all readers, and I am delighted to welcome them to the WriteNow editorial program. WriteNow is all about giving writers the tools and information they need to take the next step in their authoring journey, and it’s one of the ways we’re working to open up our publishing and industry. at large with under-represented voices, as well as initiatives such as the first Jericho Prize, and others.
Louisa Burden-Garabedian, Creative Responsibility Manager at Penguin Random House UK, added: âIt has been a pleasure working on WriteNow this year, and we are delighted to welcome eight amazing new writers to the editorial program this year. We’ve learned a lot by reducing our focus to make sure we reach as many children’s writers as possible, so we’ll be looking to build on that for next year as WriteNow continues to evolve.
This year’s writers include Ben Williams (photo, top) a queer and mixed race writer of Afro-Caribbean descent, currently working on Grace Weaver and the Other Kingdom, a mid-level fantasy about a black girl from east London fighting a police state wielding magic, and Chloe Lewis, who is working on her book The Dragon, the Princess and the Prince, a mid-level adventure about a girl with dragon scales, an autistic animal-loving princess and a prince with a terrible secret.
Lewis is an autistic writer with a passion for seeing more disabled characters in all kinds of fiction. âI think the publishing world can seem very intimidating and mechanical at times. Programs like WriteNow show under-represented voices that our stories matter and help them be heard, âshe said.
Truly Johnston (to the right) currently works in the public sector supporting volunteerism and civil society organizations. His book, Corrine and the Democonch, is an intermediate-level magical realism novel intended for ages 9 and up. âIt’s wonderful to have had someone read my work and see the potential in it. It gave me a much needed boost of confidence! ” she said.
Emma Hewitt is an actress and playwright whose stories often focus on gender, power and personal relationships; sometimes with a dystopian or fantastic touch. His dark and magical Victorian adventure, titled Drury Lane Theater, tells the story of an orphan raised in a theater who discovers that she has the power to enter the world of plays by performing. Hannah Stephenson is a North West-based writer who conducts creative writing and poetry workshops for children in elementary schools and arts communities. She was shortlisted for the Writing review Picture Book Prize in 2020 and won the Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition in 2019. His book Laziness sleeps is a loud, rhyming picture book about teamwork and not giving up.
Lucy Tandon Copp has spent the past 10 years writing for newspapers, magazines and newspapers. Her picture book is set in the Malaysian jungle and follows a talking orangutan and a very smelly durian in a fun story of cunning and self-preservation. She said, âI applied to WriteNow to shine a light on the amazing culture, people, animals and environment of Southeast Asia. Growing up there were few stories in my childhood library that thoughtfully resonated with my own heritage and mixed experiences or celebrated the absolute treasure trove of natural beauty and wonder that Southeast Asia has to. to offer. If I could bring stories like these to life for kids today, it would be a dream come true. “
Matthew Peter-Carter is a writer, actor-musician, and children’s educator. He is the Creative Director of Book Club Bunch, actor-run book clubs for children in schools or after-school clubs with the goal of educating, entertaining and inspiring the love of independent reading. His book Arthur saves Christmas is a fun seasonal adventure for intermediate level fans The NoÃ«laurus and Matt Haig.
The latest writer is Tuks, a non-binary Italian-British parent of one. They have a passion for copying and editing, freelance and article writing. Their picture book Them focuses on the first day of non-binary child Arlo at a new school. It is a story “about the alliance and how we can do more to intervene and defend others”.