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The Elizabeth Zott Novel-Writing Scholarships

These scholarships will award two talented writers of colour with limited financial means fully paid places on our selective online Writing Your Novel courses.
Writing Students in London

This scholarship is now closed. Please view our other available scholarships by clicking the button below.

We are thrilled to announce the Elizabeth Zott Novel-Writing Scholarships, providing the full course fees for two talented writers of colour with limited financial means to study with us this summer. One writer will join our six-month online Writing Your Novel course (7 June 2021 to 22 November 2021), and a second writer will be selected to join our three-month online Writing Your Novel course (14 June 2021 to 20 September 2021).

These scholarships are generously funded by CBC alumna and debut author Bonnie Garmus. Bonnie was a student on our three-month online Writing Your Novel course in 2018. Her novel Lessons in Chemistry will be a major global publication in Spring 2022, in over 30 languages, and a TV drama serial is also now in development with Apple TV.

The scholarships, named for Bonnie’s unforgettable, vibrant, feminist protagonist Elizabeth Zott, will be awarded to talented writers working on a novel that embodies some of the qualities that the CBC team loved so much when Bonnie applied to our course with the opening of Lessons in Chemistry. We’ll be looking for fresh, exciting voices, memorable characters, and story-telling that challenges us and pushes boundaries even as it entertains.  

Bonnie Garmus says: ‘A lot of people talk about elevating under-represented voices, but Curtis Brown does it via their Breakthrough Writers’ Programme as well as scholarship opportunities like this one that actually take real steps to ensure these voices get heard. I’m excited to be part of this!’

Read more about Bonnie’s time studying with us and her debut Lessons in Chemistry here.

The Elizabeth Zott scholarships are part of The Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, a major new outreach programme which offers opportunities to under-represented writers. We aim to promote diversity in our student groups and to enable talented writers to join our courses who we might not otherwise have heard from.

If you have the desire to write, a great idea and a compelling voice – and if you’re a writer of colour without the financial means to attend a Curtis Brown Creative course, this scholarship opportunity is for you.

Course details


The scholarships are open to writers of colour over the age of 18, who fulfil our low-income eligibility criteria.

Applicants must have one of the following categories of ethnicity: East Asian (Chinese; Japanese); South Asian (Indian; Pakistani; Bangladeshi); Southeast Asian (Vietnamese; Korean; Filipino); any other Asian background; Black African; Black Caribbean; Black Other; Mixed – White and Asian; Mixed – White and Black Caribbean; Mixed – White and Black African; any other mixed background from more than one group; or any other background by which you identify as a person of colour.

Applicants must fulfil our financial criteria:

  • 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 don’t quite fit our financial criteria but are nonetheless financially challenged, then do apply, explaining your circumstances in the form.

Our form asks you to make a statement about your ethnicity, your financial income and the reason you deserve this fully funded opportunity.


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.  Please note that those with the financial means to attend our courses should not apply to this scholarship. 

The Elizabeth Zott Novel-Writing Scholarships will, in each case, 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.

Head to the blog for tips and advice on preparing your application material. 


  • Applicants to the Elizabeth Zott Novel-Writing Scholarships must fulfil our eligibility criteria. Our form asks you to make a statement about your ethnicity, your financial income and the reason you deserve this fully funded opportunity.
  • 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.
  • Applicants may be asked to provide proof of their financial circumstances in support of their scholarship applications.
  • Because the scholarships are open only to those who do not have the means to attend the applicable course without financial assistance, applicants should bear in mind that their application will be considered only for the scholarship places and not for other fee-paying places on the courses.

Applications now closed

Our application process is simple, and we encourage all writers meeting the eligibility criteria to apply.

Don’t worry if you have little or nothing to say in response to questions about e.g. writing experience or employment. Just fill out the form, upload your work and we’ll be in touch soon.

Please apply with the first 3,000 words of the novel you’d like to work on during the course, and a synopsis of no more than a page (both need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file in the application below).

The deadline for applications is Sunday 23 May, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 27 May.  If you encounter any problems during the application process or have any more questions about the courses, please email for assistance.