The Word Factory Apprentice Award 2019

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The Word Factory Apprentice Award

From 16th November 2018, Word Factory is accepting applications for our 2019 Apprentice Award. We have places for four writers and will, this year, seek at least one applicant from the north of England, one place for a writer from the south-west and one from the West Midlands and one from a BAME background. Applicants must be over 18, serious about developing their short story writing and passionate about working with the Word Factory team.

Apprentices will:

  • Have one-on-one mentorship with one of our four leading authors:

    Chris Power, Lisa Blower, Leone Ross and Carys Davies.

  • Be invited to read with your mentor at a Word Factory event. The film of that event will be available to you.
  • Receive free membership to the Society of Authors.
  • Be offered additional support from literary agent Carrie Kania and director Cathy Galvin.
  • Be invited to attend our salons for free and a selection of masterclasses.
  • Have access to the brilliant Word Factory team.
  • Be promoted by us on our website and on social media.

In exchange, we expect your dedication to your craft and to the ethos of the Word Factory. We are an organisation founded on a passion for excellence in short fiction. We are looking for writers who will contribute their time in helping us run and promote events, work with us online and offer their skills to the team.

Previous Apprentices – Rebecca Swirsky, Holly Dawson, Kerstin Twatchmann, Uschi Gatward, Claire Adam, Divya Ghelani, Emily Devane, Fergus Evans, Melissa Fu, Avani Shah, Durre Shawar, Georgina Aboud, Natalia Theodoridou, Farhana Khalique and Sharon Telfer – have been published in a wide variety of journals including The Best British Short Stories annual anthology (Salt) and have won numerous prizes and continue to work with the Word Factory.

Rebecca Swirsky has said:

Like in medicine, there is a level of trust administered, and delivered, between mentor and mentee. The Word Factory creates a safe space for that conversation to happen because honoring writing is what the Word Factory does par excellence. I discovered that mentoring can take many forms, unique to the relationship that develops. Stella Duffy was my mentor for the Word Factory apprentice and receiving her generous thoughts about my collection was intensely refreshing, offering new avenues of consideration. Meshing her ideas and mine as to how the collection might be shaped was priceless, with the opportunity to connect with Stella’s ‘life-wisdom’ being one of the mentorship’s main bonuses. Another highlights of the mentorship was reading alongside Stella Duffy and David Almond at Waterstones, Piccadilly – an experience I will treasure forever. Writers in dialogue with other writers: this encapsulates the Word Factory ethos – a unique, supportive community helping each other, step by step, word by word, long into the future, and hopefully, into a new career.

How To Apply:

We are open to applicants from throughout the UK, and can offer small bursaries to cover the expense of travelling to London and/or meeting your mentor for writers living in England. Please read the following instructions carefully if you are a writer living in the north, the West Midlands or the South-West of England.

Please apply if you are working seriously on your writing and would benefit from our scheme at this stage of your career. You may have already had stories published or be at the stage of thinking about sending work out for publication. We will be looking for dedication and understanding of the art and craft of the form and for individuals willing to work within our team.

The Word Factory is London based but this is no barrier to working with writers from across the UK. We are committed to opening the award to writers with no access to literary mentorship and from communities who are often excluded. At least one place a year is held open for talented BAME writers.

Please Note: the scheme is not suitable for anyone with novels or collections already published or under contract (self-published and non-fiction books may apply). Also, application is only open to residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Bursaries are focussed on writers living in England.

IMPORTANT – You need to apply separately if:

  • You live in the North of England
  • You live in the West Midlands
  • You live in the South-West

If you live in any of these three areas, DO NOT APPLY HERE. Instead, use the links below to apply directly through an award scheme linked to your location:

Writers living in the North of England, should apply via the Northern Writers Award: www.northernwritersawards.com

Writers living in the West Midlands, should apply via the: Writing West Midlands Room 204 Writer Development Programme

Writers living in the South-West, should apply via the: Literature Works Apprentice Application page

Application is simple:

You will need to send us two files: your best 2,000 word story (or part of a story) and 500 words explaining both how the scheme will benefit you and what skills you could bring to Word Factory. In your letter please tell us where you live and whether you have a BAME background.

Please Note: Application is only open to residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


  • Use this page to "buy a £10 ticket" - this covers our admin fee.
  • After you have purchased your "ticket", you will receive an email confirmation with the email address to send your story and covering letter to. Please include your booking reference number in your email subject.
  • Then, email us your story and supporting letter.
  • Applications OPEN: November 16th 2018.
  • Applications CLOSE: February 7th 2019.

Due to the high numbers of applications expected, we will not be contacting you if your application has been unsuccessful.

Good luck! Look forward to seeing you in 2019.

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