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The Creative Future Literary Awards: UK’s first national literary competition for marginalised and disabled writers

  • Date: 2 May 2013
  • Area: London, Midlands, National, North, South East, South West
Lemn Sissay, Playwright

Lemn Sissay, 2013. Credit: Photo Courtesy of Lemn Sissay and Creative Future

Brighton based charity, Creative Future, has launched a national literary award to discover and celebrate writers from disadvantaged groups, supported by an Arts Council England Grants for the arts award.

The winners will receive a cash prize as well as mentoring and will have the opportunity to present their work at an award ceremony in September during the Small Wonder literary festival.

The judging panel for the award will be led by best-selling poet, broadcaster and playwright, Lemn Sissay.

Grants for the arts

Grants for the arts is an open access scheme and awards National Lottery money to thousands of arts projects nationally each year.

It offers awards from £1,000 to £100,000 to support the creation and presentation of great art, from dance to sculpture, poetry readings to melas. The scheme supports artists and arts organisations to produce more innovative work, enables projects that bring our communities together and enriches lives, and stimulates the creative economy in our cities and towns.

First national literary award

The competition is the first national literary award for marginalised and disabled writers and hopes to become a national event. Eligibility for entry targets those who find it difficult to access the literary world either because of mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. The awards aim to challenge people's preconceptions of what disabled and marginalised artists are capable of.

Mentoring will be offered by Arts Council England National portfolio organisation, New Writing South who is committed to inspiring and developing creative writers throughout the South East.

The Spark

The competition theme is 'The Spark' and entries can come in two forms: poems of no more than 200 words or flash fiction for short stories of no more than 300 words. There will be 20 award winners chosen from the applicants with prizes presented at an award ceremony at Charleston House East Sussex on Friday 27th September as part of the Small Wonder literary festival and produced by Collected Works CIC. Winners will get to present their work at the ceremony and competition winners will see their work feature in an anthology of works alongside high profile writers, which will be launched at the event.

The charity runs two other events that promote the work of marginalised and disabled artists and writers in the region. The Impact Art Fair is the UK's only art fair solely featuring the work of disabled and disadvantaged artists. The Tight Modern, a miniature replica of the Tate Modern highlights the work of 50 disabled artists. The Creative Future Literary Awards will be their third flagship event.

Dominique De-Light, Project Director, Creative Future says: 'We felt it was about time marginalised writers in the UK had their own high profile showcase. Unlike the MIND Book Award which rewards writers for writing well about mental health issues, these awards reward writers who may have mental health issues (or other issues) for writing well. It was also important to us that the competition encouraged writers' development and sign-posted entrants to other writers' organisations, so that not only are we rewarding writers who write well but we're encouraging all writers' development and increasing their networks.'

John Prebble, Literature Relationship Manager, South East, Arts Council England says: 'We are delighted to support the first year of Creative Future Literary Awards through Arts Council England's National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme. This scheme is a valuable way for us to ensure that talented artists and writers across the county can create great art for people to enjoy. Art enriches lives, strengthens our economy and brings people together. We hope that as many writers as possible hear about and enter this important new literary award. Good luck!'

Deadline for entries is midday on 16 June. For more details and to apply: Creative Future 

Click here to see the list of winners