“I set up the Yesterday Scholarship with the hope that it might make a difference to a talented writer who has struggled because of challenging personal circumstances,” says Felicia. “Someone with a generous heart enabled me to study at university years ago, opening the way for me to eventually write my debut thriller Yesterday. The only thing he asked for in return was for me to help someone deserving if I’m ever in a position to do so.” Felicia has chosen to pass on the good deed through this CBC scholarship, and asks that her scholarship winner undertakes to do the same for another person in the future when they’re able to.
Over the last six months we’ve been sent a veritable mountain of applications to the Yesterday scholarship, and have read through an incredible variety of synopses and novel-openings. There were thrillers, family sagas, science fiction works, murder stories, fantasy, comedy, YA novels, spy novels, romance, experimental literary works … We’ve encountered triumph over adversity, poignant tales of illness and loss, mysteries, polemics – you name it. Thank you to everyone who sent in their material – it’s been a privilege, and it was very difficult to pick out just one to receive the scholarship. We hope that some of you will send in material to us again in the future, and won’t be discouraged by not receiving this particular opportunity.
And so, to our winner! I’m delighted to say that Felicia, with the support of the CBC team, has chosen Polly Crosby, a 37-year-old married mother-of-one, who, in her words: “happens to have cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that means I need to take lots of different medications to stay well.”
Polly’s novel-in-progress, The Illustrated Child, is a nostalgic coming-of-age story about a girl whose father makes picture books about her. Hidden within the books is a secret treasure hunt. The CBC team were enchanted by the writing, and moved by the emotional power and depth of the story.
“I fell in love with Polly’s writing as soon as I read the first few paragraphs of her submission,” says Felicia. “They were quirky and imaginative, infused with a whimsical thoughtfulness. I had no idea Polly had cystic fibrosis until I went in to Curtis Brown to discuss the applications we received. When Polly and I later spoke over the phone, I was struck by her determination to write despite the setbacks she has faced.”
Polly has chosen to join our Spring 2018 six-month online novel-writing course, taught by Lisa O’Donnell, with contributions from the literary agent teams of Curtis Brown and C+W.
“My novel has enabled me to escape into my writing – a world that I can enjoy even if I’m feeling unwell,” says Polly. “The motivation and guidance the course will provide is going to be a phenomenal help. I’ve been on a high since finding out I’ve won, and I can’t wait to start!”
If you’d like to be among the other 14 paying students to join Polly on the course, you can read through the full course details and apply here. Or check out our other novel-writing courses here – including our two other selective-entry courses for the Spring: the London-based six-month novel-writing course with Chris Wakling, and the three-month online YA and children’s writing course with Catherine Johnson. Plus we have 3 affordable six-week online courses offered on a pay-and-enrol basis for anyone who would like to try their hand at writing a novel.
Take a look at our current scholarship opportunities, aimed at helping people with financial hardship and finding new voices from under-represented backgrounds to join our student cohort.