← Back to Blog

Announcing The Breakthrough Writers' Programme

BY Anna Davis
24th Nov 2020

We're excited to announce a major new project, The Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, launched with the support of the literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W. It's an exciting new programme of courses, mentoring and scholarships for under-represented writers – with all opportunities fully funded for the writers taking part.

Our aim is to seek out talented writers, who would not otherwise have joined our courses, help them to maximise their writing potential, and empower them to pitch their work with confidence to the publishing industry. Expert teaching and industry advice will be delivered by successful authors, publishers and agents.

We intend to run the programme for at least three years – with each writing opportunity focused on a specific barrier to entry. For 2021, the central programme of mentoring and courses is funded in full by the Curtis Brown Group and its agents. We plan to set up an advisory board to work with us on the development and funding of the programme for successive years.

The programme opens in February 2021 with:

A five-day intensive zoom/online novel-writing course for fifteen Black writers, with award-winning author Jacob Ross as lead tutor, working with popular CBC tutor Laura Barnett – and featuring an afternoon with Curtis Brown literary agents Karolina Sutton and Felicity Blunt, Dialogue Books Publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove and HarperCollins editor Ore Agbaje-Williams. All students will also get one-to-one tutorials with Curtis Brown or C&W literary agents.

A nine-month mentoring programme for five Black writersprovided by experienced author-tutors, plus an individual tutorial with an agent. Mentors for the Breakthrough Writers’ programme include Leila Aboulela, Craig Barr-Green, Suzannah Dunn, Yvvette Edwards, Mike Gayle, Cynan Jones, Catherine Johnson, Nikita Lalwani, Sara Collins, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Anthony Trevelyan and Cathi Unsworth.

In April the programme shifts focus to address the barrier of low income, with:

A five-day intensive zoom/online novel-writing course for fifteen writers with low income, taught by acclaimed author and tutor Jake Arnott and Cathi Unsworth. Featuring tutorials and an afternoon with Curtis Brown agent Cathryn Summerhayes and C&W agent Katie Greenstreet, plus two publishers.

A nine-month mentoring programme for five writers with low income (mentoring team as above).

For some years we have offered scholarshipsto our longer courses, mostly funded by valued partners – and five of our scholars are now published authors. Our scholarships will now be brought under the umbrella of the Breakthrough Writers' programme, and we're delighted to be offering these scholarships for early Spring 2021:

A scholarship for a Black writer to join the six-month online Writing Your Novel course in February 2021, provided by bestselling author Clare Mackintosh, who is also creating a bespoke 12-month mentoring programme for the scholar, to feature guidance from a range of leading authors.

A scholarship for a writer with low income to join the same six-month online course in February, provided by the newly launched Cheerio Publishing.

We believe we’ll find some amazing writers through our new programme, and are excited at the prospect of supporting their development. We're also delighted to be welcoming some fantastic new author-tutors to our team.

All of the above courses, mentoring programmes and scholarships are now open for applications. More will follow soon.

Find out more about The Breakthrough Writers' Programme