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Apprenticeship Application 2018


Word Factory is delighted to announce four new apprentices for 2018! Find out more here.


We are seeking four emerging writers to be individually mentored by leading authors, for FREE* as part of our renowned Word Factory Apprentice Award. The chosen writers will be talented, supportive of our inclusive ethos and willing to give their time to participating in our activities.

They will have access to the Word Factory events and masterclasses – a programme offering creative inspiration, writer development and a unique community of supportive writers. They will also be invited to read their work with their mentor at a special Word Factory event. All winners will also receive free membership to the renowned Society of Authors.

Our apprentice alumnae have achieved industry recognition including publication with independent and mainstream publishers such as Salt and Faber; awards and shortlistings including the Guardian BAME prize, Bath Flash Fiction Prize and Wasafiri prize; reviewing for journals and publications including the TLS, Economist and New Statesman.

The award is now in its fifth year and we are delighted to announce a new 2018/19 partnership with the Northern Writers’Awards and New Writing North. One of our four places will be open to a writer living in the North who will also be offered a bursary to attend events in London, developmental support and access to other opportunities offered by New Writing North.

Please follow the link to the map which defines the North for purposes of this award: BOUNDARIES OF THE NORTH. And see www.northernwritersawards.com from November 16 2017 for full details of the Northern Word Factory apprenticeship, eligibility and how to apply.

The 2018 Word Factory Mentors

Our 2018/19 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: KJ Orr, Courttia Newland, Tom Lee and for the Northern Apprentice, Jenn Ashworth.

Applications will be judged by the Word Factory and Sunday Times EFG short story award founder Cathy Galvin and associate director Paul McVeigh, winner of the Polari First Book Prize. The Northern Apprentice applications will be judged through the Northern Writers’ Awards, in consultation with the Word Factory and Jenn Ashworth.

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, Melissa Fu, Durre Shawar, Avani Shah and Fergus Evans – have all become members of the Word Factory team in addition to 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 GebbieProfessor Ailsa CoxAlexei Sayle, Zoe Gilbert, Jarred McGinnis and Nikesh Shukla.

The Word Factory Apprentice programme is a truly remarkable award that invites and fosters growth. The Word Factory masterclasses and salons have not only inspired me to improve my own craft but have also challenged me to use writing to connect with others and build understanding. With Zoe Gilbert’s generous mentorship, I have grown so much, taking risks and experimenting with form. I have loved every aspect of the award and highly recommend that aspiring writers apply for 2018. It is a wonderful community and I am so proud to be part of it.

Melissa Fu, 2017 Apprentice, mentored by Zoe Gilbert — in 2017 Melissa was published in The Nottingham Review, The Lonely Crowd, International Literature Showcase and Word Factory online. She was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Prize and had a Special Mention for Spread the Word’s inaugural Life Writing Prize.

Working with Nikesh has been amazing for both my ego and my word count. With his support and advice, my novel has grown in ways I couldn't have expected. As for the community - the Word Factory gang have welcomed me with open arms. I've found myself a part of a group of readers and writers who cheer each other on, share work, and always have great suggestions for what to read next.

Avani Shah, 2017 Apprentice, mentored by Nikesh Shukla — in 2017 Avani was shortlisted for the Guardian BAME Prize.

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, 2017 Apprentice, mentored by Vanessa Gebbie.

*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.

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:

If you DO NOT live in the north of England— 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 and commitment you will bring to the Word Factory. In the past, our apprentices have offered some of the following: social media skills; helping us run events; creating a flash fiction prize; supporting festivals. 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


If you live in the North of England:

Follow this link: www.northernwritersawards.com

Important Dates:

  • Applications OPEN on November 16th 2017.
  • Applications CLOSE on February 1st 2018 at 11:30PM.
  • Announcements at the Word Factory and Northern Writers’ Awards June 2018.
  • Mentorship completes March 2019.

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 2018.