Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve done an MA or BA Creative Writing: does that mean I can’t apply?

No, and it doesn’t mean you won’t be selected. A large proportion of previous applicants to Escalator are graduates of formal creative writing programmes. You are welcome to apply if you have studied on an accredited creative writing course in the past; however, you must not be currently studying full-time or for any accredited course in creative writing.

Of course, you don’t have to have studied creative writing at all to apply!

I haven’t yet written 2,000 words of the project I want to write – what do I do?

If you haven’t got an extract of up to 2,000 words of the project you would like to work on during the scheme, you can send us an example of your previous fiction work instead. Make sure you are clear about the project you intend to work on in your 200-word proposal.

How do I know if my writing is right for Escalator?

We are looking for great writing, affecting stories and creative potential. Escalator is a creative commitment and is best suited to writers with experience of receiving constructive feedback on their work.We particularly encourage writers who self-identify as from a working-class background, who haven’t undertaken any formal creative writing qualifications, or whom wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to benefit from this kind of support. We are not looking for a particular style, genre or approach; only well-considered, technically able, affecting stories.

How are applications judged?

Once National Centre for Writing has identified eligibility, applicants are judged anonymously and by their work alone. Six writers are selected from a shortlist of up to 25 applicants by the panel of mentors chaired by NCW.

How does mentoring work?

Two of your mentoring sessions will be face-to-face at the welcome meeting and writers’ retreat, both taking place at the National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. All other mentoring sessions may take place face-to-face or via email, telephone or video call. Mentor and writer are liable for any expenses incurred for face-to-face meetings.

I don’t live in the East of England – what else is there for me?

Escalator is funded by Arts Council England and as such, is restricted to those living in the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk or Suffolk). However, Regional Literature Development Agencies across the country are offering similar opportunities for early-career writers:

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

How else can you support me?

Please visit our ‘Support for Writers’ section to read about our other opportunities.