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Write On! Features: Bloomsbury Academic Writing Fellowship

Bloomsbury have announced the Bloomsbury Academic Writing Fellowship in partnership with Writers & Artists (W&A). The Fellowship, the first of its kind in the UK academic community, plans to uncover talent and new authors who have started their work but have not yet turned it into a proposal which is ready to submit to a publisher. The 2023 closing date for entries is 23:59 Thursday 30th November 2023.

The programme will offer mentorship with dedicated Bloomsbury and Writers & Artists editors, £1,000 of financial support, access to Bloomsbury events and access to W&A/Bloomsbury books and resources. It will also include support and practical advice to develop an idea through to final manuscript stage, ready to approach and submit to a range of publishers in the academic space, including Bloomsbury. The programme has been created to support particular areas of academic publishing where Bloomsbury would like to have better representation and more diverse opinions, stories and ideas. Partnering with Writers & Artists on this initiative will also help to remove some of the barriers to – and mysteries around – scholarly publishing.

Pooja Aggarwal, Director of Academic and Professional Publishing, commented: “We want to increase publishing with a social mission, using the UN Sustainable Development Goals for first-time authors from African or African Caribbean heritage.  We recognise the urgent need to support people from all backgrounds and identities to become part of the global publishing industry, enabling diverse voices to reflect and shape our culture and society.

“We are committed to supporting new authors and creators to bring works across an array of genres and subjects to readers and learners worldwide, sharing ideas, knowledge and experience. We have a philosophy around the Fellowship programme which is based on one book at a time, supporting and mentoring an author to ensure we can create a lasting career for them.”

To ensure that submissions cover wide-ranging and topical subjects, the Fellowship is requesting that manuscripts should focus on one of the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Peace and Justice and Strong Institutions and finally, Climate Action.

In this first year, applications are open to up-and-coming authors and researchers with African or African Caribbean Heritage, who need to be based in the UK. The aim is to grow and develop the Bloomsbury Academic Writing Fellowship, expanding its remit so that it can be offered to many more underrepresented author groups within core academic fields of study in the future.

The Fellowship will be reviewed and awarded by a panel, including:

  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a Sudanese diaspora author, broadcaster and award-winning social advocate
  • Dr Akin Iwilade, a Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Kadian Pow, a Lecturer in Sociology and Black Studies at Birmingham City University
  • Eli Keren, an associate literary agent at United Agents, representing a growing list of clients across fiction and non-fiction, actively seeking books that are going to make a positive impact in the world
  • Lily Mac Mahon, Commissioning Editor for World Archaeology at Bloomsbury
  • David Avital, Editorial Director for Bloomsbury Politics, International Development and Area Studies

The launch of the Bloomsbury Academic Writing Fellowship programme aligns with the company’s DE&I Action Plan and in future will contribute to the change in author, illustrator and creator representation that Bloomsbury is committed to making as part of that Action Plan.

To apply and  for  full details of the criteria and support package available, please click here


About Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a leading independent publishing house, established in 1986, with authors who have won the Nobel, Pulitzer and Booker Prizes, and is the originating publisher and custodian of the Harry Potter series. Bloomsbury has offices in London, New York, New Delhi, Oxford and Sydney.

About The Judges

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese diaspora author, broadcaster and award-winning social advocate. She is the author of Stand Up And Speak Out Against Racism (Walker, 2023), the essay collection Talking About A Revolution (Penguin Random House UK, 2022), and the novels You Must Be Layla, (Puffin, 2019) and Listen, Layla (Puffin, 2021), which was longlisted for Book Of The Year by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. A regular news and current affairs commentator on the BBC, Al Jazeera, and Monocle 24, Yassmin is also a regular columnist with The New Arab and London’s Evening Standard. She has written for TIME, The Guardian, The New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, Teen Vogue, The Independent and more. Yassmin is currently a Trustee of the London Library and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Black Writers Guild.

Dr Akin Iwilade is Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to his current role, he taught International Relations at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and African Politics at the University of Leeds, UK. His current research focusses on the anthropology of youth and draws on an inter-disciplinary theoretical toolbox to ask how this category maps itself onto material and social realities, how they construct and evade discipline, and how they imagine their place in life, death and in the in-betweens. This work has been supported by grants from the British Academy, ESRC, AHRC, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, among others. He has published in leading journals including the Journal Of Modern African Studies, Journal Of Contemporary African Studies, Africa Spectrum, Journal Of Youth Studies and Extractive Industries And Society. He is currently an Editor of the Canadian Journal Of African Studies, Reviews Editor for African Affairs and a member of the Editorial Board for Critical African Studies.

Dr Kadian Pow is a Lecturer in Sociology and Black Studies at Birmingham City University. As one of Canvas 8 Expert Consultant in Cultural Trends, Dr Pow has worked on racial equity projects with Beatfreeks, and Museums in the UK and USA. Her main interests include Black feminism in online spaces, television, fandoms and representation, Intersectionality, the sociology of Black hair and identity, and museum decolonisation efforts. Extending her Black feminist praxis, Kadian founded Bourn Beautiful Naturals in 2017 during her PhD studies. She is the author of Stories Of Black Female Identity In The Making: Queering The Love In Blackness, which was published by Lived Places Publishing (2023).

Eli Keren started his publishing career at Curtis Brown before joining United Agents as an assistant in 2016. In 2021, he became an associate literary agent, representing a growing list of clients across fiction and non-fiction, actively seeking books that make a positive impact on the world in some way, big or small. He’s been a regular judge on the Pat Kavanagh Prize and the Page Turner Awards, and was an industry judge for the London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme 2022/23 and Retreat West’s upcoming First Chapter Prize 2024. In 2022, he developed and taught Jericho Writers’ ‘How To Write A Non-Fiction Proposal’ course, and in 2023, he was elected treasurer of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

Lily Mac Mahon is Commissioning Editor for World Archaeology at Bloomsbury Academic. Lily has worked at Bloomsbury Publishing for the last five years, where she started as the Editorial Assistant on the Classical Studies and Archaeology list. Before joining Bloomsbury, Lily had various roles and internships at other publishers, including Duckworth Publishers, Egmont and HarperCollins. Prior to that, she lived in Paris for several years, where she taught English. In her free time, she volunteers at the Children’s Book Project in London.

David Avital is Editorial Director for Bloomsbury Politics, International Development and Area Studies. David has nearly 20 years’ experience in scholarly publishing across a number of subject areas at Bloomsbury, Continuum and Routledge.


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Bloomsbury have announced the Bloomsbury Academic Writing Fellowship in partnership with Writers & Artists (W&A).