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Hachette UK launches free development programme for BAME writers

Hachette UK’s network for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees, THRIVE, has launched a free fiction development programme – ‘Grow Your Story’ – for unpublished and unagented writers from BAME backgrounds. The programme, in partnership with David Higham Associates, The Future Bookshelf, Spread the Word and Hachette UK’s trade divisions*, will commence in January 2021 and is now open for applications from writers in the UK and Ireland.


Grow Your Story will offer 10 selected writers the opportunity develop their manuscript through a series of online workshops to be held in January and February 2021 with industry professionals, including Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (author of Starling Days and Harmless Like You) and Niki Chang (David Higham agent), alongside editors Becky Walsh, Ed Wood, Emad Akhtar, Eleanor Dryden, Federico Andornino and Rose Tomaszewka from Hachette UK. The workshops will cover editing, redrafting, finding the core of the story and how to perfect your pitch.

The programme will also enable each writer to have one-to-one mentorships with both an editor and agent for up to nine months, fortnightly meet ups with fellow writers, and the opportunity to attend an author Q&A and special guest talks. Grow Your Story forms part of a wider diversity and inclusion programme at Hachette UK called Changing the Story, which aims to help improve representation in publishing.


David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK, commented: says “Our mission at Hachette UK is make it easy for all readers, everywhere, to discover new worlds. So, we want to do all we can to ensure that the authors we publish are representative of the readers we serve – and we know we have a lot to do to get to that place. I am really excited by the Writing Workshop and Mentorship Programme that THRIVE, with the support of The Future Bookshelf, David Higham Associates and Spread the Word, have devised. I hope it will be a practical way of developing dynamic new creative talent from a more diverse base and helping build links with bestselling authors of the future.”


Ella Patel, outreach co-lead of THRIVE at Hachette UK, commented: “We’re excited to directly reach emerging writers, support them in developing the skills and confidence to make the next steps in their careers as authors and, in turn, take the necessary action to improve representation in publishing.”


Niki Chang, Literary Agent at David Higham Associates, commented: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Hachette UK, THRIVE, The Future Bookshelf and Spread the Word on this important development programme for writers of colour. At DHA, we are passionate about nurturing new talent and helping to build a truly diverse industry. We are excited about forging new connections with writers and supporting them at the crucial early stages of their careers.”


To apply for the programme, applicants will need to submit a 3,000-word sample from their novel, a one-page synopsis of their book and a one-page personal statement on why they would benefit from this programme. The judging panel includes:


  • Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff – Head of Editorial for gal-dem, freelance writer and author of Mother Country
  • Emad Akhtar – Publisher, Orion Fiction
  • Joelyn Rolston-Esdelle – Co-Chair of THRIVE
  • Niki Chang – Literary Agent, David Higham Associates
  • Rowan Hisayo Buchanan – Author of Startling Days and Harmless Like You

The submissions period will open at 12am GMT on 4th September 2020, and will close on 14th September 2020, at 11.59 pm GMT. Submissions can be made here.


Note to Editors:


*Divisions participating from Hachette UK include Bookouture, Headline Publishing, Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray Press, Little, Brown, Orion and Quercus.


Terms and conditions:


  • Writers must be from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Backgrounds
  • We are only able to consider books in English
  • The Programme is open to residents of the UK aged 18 or over
  • We will only accept fiction work for the 2021 programme in all genres except Children, Young Adult and Poetry
  • Writers must be both unagented and unpublished as of September 2020
  • This is only a submission. By sending us a sample of their manuscript, writers are not granting us any legal rights to their work
  • Writers will have no obligation to Hachette or any of our partners on this programme
  • The full Terms and Conditions are available on the submission’s page
  • Contact us for further details on growyourstory@hachette.co.uk