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Apprenticeship Application 2017

For the fourth year running, we are seeking four emerging writers to be individually mentored by leading authors, for FREE*, and to join the Word Factory team as part of our renowned Apprenticeship Award. The chosen writers will have access to all Word Factory events and classes, plus support from writing agencies, access to a leading agent and the collective literary wisdom of the Word Factory writers.

The 2017 Word Factory Mentors

Our 2017  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: Alexei Sayle, Zoe Gilbert, Nikesh Shukla and Jarred McGinnis

Applications will be judged by the Word Factory director Cathy Galvin and associate director Paul McVeigh, winner of the Polari First Book Prize.

Trusted relationships are vital to the development of a writer. Our apprentices—Rebecca Swirsky, Holly Dawson, Kerstin Twatchmann, Uschi Gatward, Claire Adam, Divya Ghelani and Emily Devane—have all become members of the Word Factory team, winning awards and being published in leading magazines and journals.

Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our scheme to date: Waterstones Piccadilly, Spread the Word, Arts Council England and most particularly our previous mentors Adam MarekStella DuffyAlex Preston and Nicholas Royle , Jacob Ross, Vanessa Gebbie and Professor Ailsa Cox.

Funds to administer the apprentice scheme have been provided through the generosity of the 2016 Word Factory Patrons: David Almond, David Andrew, Penelope Rendall, Alexei Sayle, Margarette Driscoll, Peter Kellner, Tony Lahert, Valerie Curtis and Dame Antonia Byatt.

Learning from craftswomen like Michèle Roberts and Marina Warner at Word Factory masterclasses has been incredibly inspiring. My mentor, Vanessa Gebbie, is a brilliant and intuitive reader as well as an all-round writing powerhouse. Under her incisive guidance, I’ve become a braver and stronger writer of short fiction and novels and I’m not looking back. The Word Factory is a unique story circle in the heart of London, a ‘fireside’ gathering full of warmth and wonder.

Divya Ghelani, 2016 apprentice

*Please note: there is an admin fee but a year’s mentoring and Word Factory membership is entirely free. Admission free to the unwaged.


How To Apply

The award is offered to talented authors on the way to their first collection of stories or beginning to send work out for publication. We are committed to the development of our apprentices in the long-term. 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. We can make a contribution to expenses for travel thanks to the support of our generous patrons.

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.

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 how the scheme will benefit you and what skills you could bring to Word Factory. 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 £20 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.

Unwaged applicants can still apply. Please send your story, covering letter and short explanation of your circumstances direct to Paul McVeigh at paul@thewordfactory.tv


Important Dates:

  • Applications OPEN on December 1st 2016.
  • Applications CLOSE on January 22nd 2017.

Director and founder of the Word Factory Cathy Galvin and associate director Paul McVeigh will assess the applications and, if you have been successful, will contact you a week before the first Word Factory salon of 2017 on February 25th. 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 2017.
We are very grateful for the support given by the founding Patrons of our 2016 Apprentice Award: David Almond, David Andrew, Valerie Curtis, Margarette Driscoll, Peter Kellner, Tony Lahert, Penelope Rendall, Alexei Sayle, Dame Antonia Byatt, William Palmer and Keith Gapp.

Becoming a Word Factory apprentice broke the pattern of years of writing alone and discouragement. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor than Jacob Ross. The Word Factory environment is tremendous - warm, friendly, supportive and full of people who love stories. I feel very lucky to have found these guys.

Claire Adam, 2016 apprentice

Our 2016 Apprentices:

Apprentice Readings: