Owned Voices launches writing competition

Lucy Nathan
News - Prizes Friday, 27th November 2020

Searching for writers from 'traditionally under-represented backgrounds in publishing'


Owned Voices has launched the Owned Voices Novel Award, a new competition aimed at writers from traditionally under-represented backgrounds in publishing, such as those who identify as LGBTQ+, ethnic minorities, and those with disabilities. 

Ten shortlisted writers will have the opportunity to attend a virtual Routes to Getting Published panel, and two will be selected as the novel award winners. One will be paired up with Leodora Darlington, founder of Owned Voices and commissioning editor at Canelo, and the other will be paired with Bell Lomax Moreton agent Katie Fulford. Bookouture publishing executive Radhika Sonagra is also one of the judging panel. Winners will receive written feedback and a one-to-one virtual mentoring meeting, and will be contacted by their partnered publishing professional two months after their initial meeting to discuss their progress.

Darlington said: "After a year of cancelled workshops due to the ongoing pandemic, it's so exciting to have another Owned Voices initiative in action. To this day, I still receive messages from previous workshop participants to say that they have found involvement with Owned Voices life-changing. Writers have gone on to secure book deals, win grants, secure coveted placements in mentorship schemes and successfully enrol in postgraduate writing programmes. I'm very excited, therefore, to be launching this new initiative, through which I hope to help create more success stories. Something I have really wanted for Owned Voices is for it to become more regionally diverse and so I hope that hosting this award virtually will encourage writers from outside of London to apply. I can't wait for submissions to start coming in!"

Fulford said: "Leodora has worked tirelessly to nurture writing talent from under-represented backgrounds through her Owned Voices initiative now in its second year. I am delighted to be able to work with her on 2021's programme to support the shortlisted and winning students with feedback on their work and guidance on the publishing and agenting processes."

Sonagra said: "As a passionate fan of own voices literature, I'm really excited and pleased to be involved in this competition. Best of luck to applicants; I can't wait to get reading!"

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