What is Escalator?

National Centre for Writing has been running the Escalator talent development programme since 2004. The programme has developed over the years to become what it is today: eight months of mentoring, training, guidance and networking for writers based in the East of England, who are at the beginning of their careers and feel their voice is under-represented on UK bookshelves.

Escalator Roadshow

Writers who are considering applying to the programme are invited to join us at one of our free Roadshow events. These are a chance to meet the mentors, try a writing exercise, and ask your questions about the programme.

Please book your place for one event.

Escalator Roadshow: Great Yarmouth with Kate Worsley, Saturday 13 August, 2 – 4pm

Escalator Roadshow: Peterborough with Yvvette Edwards, Saturday 3 September, 1 – 3pm

To date Escalator has supported over 130 writers, many of whom have gone on to sign with agents, publish and win awards and critical recognition for their writing. Find out more about our alumni here.

‘The Escalator scheme does essential work to support writers both practically and creatively at a critical point in their writing lives.’ – Author and NCW Patron, Sarah Perry FRSL

In 2022-23 we are able to run Escalator for a cohort of six writers. This will be the third year that we have run the programme in a ‘hybrid’ format, making the most of both online platforms and opportunities to meet up in person*. 

The Escalator mentors for the 2022-23 programme are: Michael Donkor, Yvvette Edwards, and Kate Worsley. Find out more about the mentors and their work here.

Applications to the scheme open on 14 July 2022 and the deadline for applications is 10am BST on Monday 19 September 2022. The selected writers will need to be available to take part in the scheme between late November 2022 and July 2023.

Escalator is generously funded by Arts Council England, Amazon Literary Partnership, and donors of NCW’s Escalator fundraising campaign.


Arts Council England logo

*subject to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.


Not from the region?

Regional Literature Development Agencies across England are offering exciting opportunities for writers in their region:

Literature Works (South West)
New Writing North
New Writing South (South East)
Spread the Word (London)
Writing East Midlands
Writing West Midlands

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