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Meet Sashawne Smith, our HW Fisher novel-writing scholar

BY Katie Smart
11th Nov 2021

We’re pleased to announce that Sashawne Smith has been awarded the HW Fisher Novel-Writing Scholarship for Writers with Low Income for her novel-in-progress The Grosvenor Estate Pseudocides. Sashawne has won a fully funded place on our three-month Writing Your Novel course in London, with some teaching on Zoom.

The CBC team were captivated by Sashawne's unique idea and stylish prose. We’re excited to have Sashawne on board for our Writing Your Novel course and can't wait to see how The Grosvenor Estate Pseudocides develops..

Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your novel-in-progress The Grosvenor Estate Pseudocides?

I’m a 22-year-old graduate from South London. The Grosvenor Estate Pseudocides begun as a short story I’d written during the final year of my degree. Between the various lockdowns and firebreaks in Cardiff, my stress coping mechanisms at Uni consisted of drinking lots of tea, complaining to my flatmate Lucy about said stress, and writing as a form of procrastination.

I distinctly remember sitting down to write knowing I should’ve been revising for my upcoming set of exams. The seedling of the story was plucked from an experience I had during my placement year, where I was working at a civil engineering firm in Exeter and was introduced to the phrase ‘Blue Monday’.

The short story revolved around an event that took place on the proclaimed ‘most depressing day of the year’, in a way that was originally meant to subvert the title. I revisited it a few months later, after sending it to one of my best friends who aggressively and affectionately told me ‘it needed to be longer’, so I did. In doing so, it’s evolved past the events of that one specific day but the initial premise of Blue Monday still stands.

The Grosvenor Estate Pseudocides is a feat of escapist fantasy about a funeral director’s apprentice who gets offered a large sum of money to do a bad thing, and the inevitable fall out of that choice.

What does winning this scholarship place mean to you?

The scholarship provides me with an opportunity that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise. Being able to work on my novel with the support offered by the course helps assuage the imposter syndrome of the early writer as well as afford me the invaluable experience of feedback.

I feel like I have been a troll under a bridge, working on the manuscript in a solitary space, so getting to finally let others cross and peer over is so exciting. I’m incredibly thankful to be selected and am still sort of foggy with disbelief.

The CBC team are hugely grateful to HW Fisher for their ongoing support of our courses through scholarships. HW Fisher are a top London chartered accountancy firm, their sponsorship of CBC started when Andrew Subramanium, a partner in HW Fisher’s media group, working with an impressive list of writers, musicians and artists, got talking to CBC’s MD Anna Davis. That first conversation, back in 2016, quickly led to the development of a scholarship programme that has funded two students per year ever since.

Many of our scholarship students have gone on the gain representation and become published authors, read about their successes here.

If you’re interested in free writing opportunities and want to study with us, check out The Breakthrough Writers’ Programme. This is our exciting programme of courses, mentoring and scholarships for under-represented writers, funded by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and partners.