The Sarah Quinn BAME Writing Scholarship for YA and Children’s Fiction



We’re excited to announce that former Curtis Brown Creative student Sarah Quinn (above right) is providing a new BAME writing bursary for our Writing YA and Children’s Fiction course, taught by Catherine Johnson (above left). One talented writer of colour will receive a fully paid place on the course, which runs this Autumn.

We want to encourage and support greater diversity amongst our students – and in doing so, to discover and foster exciting new voices for the future. Curtis Brown Creative – and our tutor Catherine Johnson – are hugely grateful to Sarah for her generosity in providing this scholarship.

Sarah Quinn studied on a Curtis Brown Creative 6-month course in London, and has already sponsored a scholarship for that course (awarded to Sri Lankan writer Samuel Daram). Sarah is at work on a YA novel herself, and is inspired to help another writer who’s at work on a novel for children or young adults – and who is in need of financial support to join our course.

Sarah Quinn: The books we read as children and young adults shape our thinking and allow us to explore the world around us, through imaginative storytelling and characters we can relate to. It is so important that there are opportunities for writers, from all backgrounds, to tell those stories we haven’t yet heard. I’m delighted to be sponsoring a scholarship for a writer of colour to work with the CBC team to create something new that young readers can’t put down.

Catherine Johnson (course tutor): I am excited at the prospect of reading brand new work by emerging writers of colour. Children’s stories hold a very special place in the British psyche, and the children’s books world is crying out for original voices that can not only hold up a mirror for young readers, but provide a window into a million different worlds

If you are a talented writer of colour working on a YA or children’s novel, and without the financial means to attend a Curtis Brown Creative course, this scholarship opportunity is for you. We are looking for exciting new BAME writers working on YA or novels for children over the age of 7. Your work could be contemporary realist, historical, science fiction or fantasy, romance – or indeed any genre, provided the intended readers are children or teenagers. Please note that this scholarship – and the 3-month online course to which it relates – are not intended for people working on picture books or books for the under-7s.


The scholarship is open only to BAME writers over the age of 18, either:

  • unmarried and not co-habiting with a partner, with an annual (gross, pre-tax) income of less than £25,000 and personal savings of less than £5,000.
  • married or co-habiting with a partner, with a total annual (gross pre-tax) household income of less than £35,000 and personal savings (jointly or individually) of less than £5,000.
  • If you are a BAME writer who does not fit these financial criteria but consider your personal financial circumstances merit inclusion in this scholarship opportunity, please give detail in the application form.


Curtis Brown Creative offers places on our courses on the basis of proven writing ability. We ask applicants to send us the first 3,000 words of a novel in progress, with a one-page synopsis, and to fill out our application form.  Applicants for the scholarship should fill in the application form at the bottom of the course page here, but should be sure to fill out the extra ‘scholarship’ section of our application form. Please note that those with the financial means to attend our courses should not apply to the scholarship. You can apply up until the deadline of midnight at the end of 16 September.


The Sarah Quinn BAME Writing Scholarship will be awarded to the applicant whose submission material shows the greatest potential and promise in our view. The decision will be made by the Curtis Brown Creative team with input from Catherine Johnson and from Sarah herself.

Terms and conditions

  • Applicants to the Sarah Quinn BAME Writing Scholarship must fulfil our eligibility criteria. Our form asks you to make a statement about your financial circumstances and background and why you feel you deserve the scholarship.
  • With respect to the earnings thresholds set out in our eligibility section: for salaried applicants, your current salary at date of application must be under the threshold. For self-employed applicants, your gross pre-tax profits (average figure for the last two financial years) must be under the threshold. State benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance should be counted as income.
  • We acknowledge that some people whose earnings do not comply fully with the financial criteria may nevertheless have personal circumstances that we would consider should merit inclusion in this opportunity (for example, a lone parent with sole financial responsibility for three children, earning a salary of £27,000 per year). If you feel your personal and financial circumstances should qualify you for inclusion in the scholarship opportunity, please give full details. Final decisions around eligibility will be made by the Curtis Brown Creative team on a case by case basis.
  • Applicants may be asked to provide proof of their financial circumstances in support of their scholarship applications.
  • Applicants may be asked to provide character references from 2 professional people who have known the applicant for at least 5 years and who are happy to confirm that the information being provided is correct (to the best of their knowledge). Referees should not be family members or spouses/partners of the applicant.
  • Applicants to the Sarah Quinn BAME Writing Scholarship may also apply for other scholarships or bursaries offered by Curtis Brown Creative (though please note that in the event of your being awarded this scholarship or another scholarship place, any open applications for further scholarships become void).
  • Applicants to the Sarah Quinn BAME Writing Scholarship are not eligible to be considered for ‘normal’ paying places on the course – this is because the scholarship is intended for a writer without the means to take up a paying place on the 3-month Writing YA and Children’s Fiction online course.

Click here to read more about the Writing YA and Children’s Fiction 3-Month online course and to apply for this scholarship