Escalator seeks ambitious new voices in fiction (novel or short story). If you feel your voice is under-represented on UK bookshelves and would benefit from a structured period of support, then we want to hear from you!
Escalator is open to writers of fiction at the beginning of their careers, who are based in the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk). The region is made up of a diverse society of many voices, and supporting writers who are under-represented on UK bookshelves has become a core objective of the project.
“I applied for Escalator believing I had some ability, but not really knowing what to do with it. Through the workshops, networking, mentoring and opportunities to share my writing, I have grown into someone who feels so much more confident. I have felt part of a community of wonderfully creative people. And I feel happy, finally, to call myself a writer.” – Escalator winner, 2021-22
This year we particularly welcome applications from writers who identify as LGBTQI+ and/or whose ethnicity is under-represented on UK bookshelves. We intend to offer at least 50% of places to writers who identify as such.
To be eligible for Escalator, you must:
If you’re not sure whether you meet these criteria, we invite you to contact us for a confidential discussion before making your application. You can do so on email@example.com or 01603 877177 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).
If you don’t fit these entry requirements, we kindly request that you take a look at our other opportunities and resources for writers, as Escalator is specifically for writers of fiction in the East of England.
At the heart of the Escalator programme is a period of mentoring; a one-to-one exchange between writer and mentor, who interact regularly to review work, discuss challenges and set goals. The six selected writers will also take part in a variety of development opportunities, and a final showcase event at which they will have an opportunity to present their work to agents, editors and other publishing industry professionals.
“Having the forum and opportunity to talk to someone about my writing and writing intentions was invaluable. I felt I could draw on the insight and experience of my mentor whilst maintaining ownership of my writing; to build on self belief and strengthen my own judgement.” – Escalator winner, 2021-22
Throughout the Escalator programme, the winning writers will also:
Applications to the scheme open on Thursday 14 July 2022 and the deadline for applications is 10am BST on Monday 19 September 2022. Applications are read and judged anonymously by a panel comprising the National Centre for Writing and mentors for the scheme.
There are two steps to making your application:
We recommend preparing your answers in advance of filling in the form; the questions can be found below.
Please ensure that the file name is the title of your sample as noted in the online application form. The sample can be sent as a .doc, .docx, .pdf or other commonly used text file format. Please note that we cannot open or read .pages files. The sample will be read anonymously; please do not include your name in either the document itself or its file name.
Applications that are incomplete and/or reach us after 10am on Monday 19 September 2022 cannot be considered. If you require the application form in a different format (e.g. audio, large print, etc.) please don’t hesitate to contact us before the deadline.
The online application form will ask you the following questions:
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.
There are three stops on the Escalator roadshow! Please book your place for one event.