Laura Kinsella Fellowship

Each year the Laura Kinsella Fellowship is offered to one exceptionally talented early-career writer of literary fiction, living in England, who is yet to be published but shows extraordinary promise and has a clear project or vision for development.

Supported by the Laura Kinsella Foundation and delivered by the National Centre for Writing, the fellowship is specifically aimed at writers experiencing limiting circumstances, or whose voices are underrepresented in mainstream literary fiction.

The selected writer receives £4,000 and a programme of professional development and opportunities to further their writing career. This support is bespoke, responding to the requirements and ambitions of the writer and may include space and time to write, mentoring, residency or research trips, introductions to the industry, or engagement with our existing programmes.

There is a poetic pragmatism that is the writer’s own, and I feel there is great potential for this writer to be a bold and brilliant voice.

Roopa Faruki

Past Winners


Cate West trained in Fine Art and graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2019. She was shortlisted for York Festival of Writing’s Friday Night Live and longlisted for Mslexia’s Novel Competition the same year.


Alice Franklin, Kathy Hoyle

Commended writers

Beena Nadeem, Sara Jane Potter, Shereen Jackson, Ibrahim Babátúndé Ibrahim, Tabitha Bast, April Yee, Emilia Ong, Salli Hepworth-Smith, Daniel Olaoluwa Whyte



Harminder Kaur was born in the UK to Indian parents. Her mother worked in a factory and was a cleaner. Her father was a primary school teacher in an inner city school in Coventry. Harminder studied creative writing at UEA as part of her degree in Literature and Film. After an MA in Literature at Sussex, Harminder has done a wide variety of jobs, including drug and alcohol worker, chef and kitchen manager, lecturer, live-in carer, and researcher.

Harminder’s life was interrupted by the onset of schizophrenia while she was studying for a PhD in Cultural Theory at Hull. One of the positive aspects of her illness was that it was a spiritual experience which led to her to becoming a Christian. She is currently writing a work of literary fiction called Psychotic Episodes, which is made up of a series of linked stories about mental illness, race and faith.

In 2020 she was longlisted for the Penguin WriteNow programme, and was offered a free place on a Professional Writing Academy Course by New Writing North. In 2021 she was awarded a place on ‘A Brief Pause’, a six-month development programme organised by Dahlia Press for women working on short fiction.

Of Kaur’s work, Kerry Hudson said:

‘We felt Harminder’s work showed enormous presence. She’s a writer of power and honesty and the piece both moved and provoked thoughts in equal measure. We can’t wait to see what Harminder will do with this opportunity, and we feel very grateful that we got to read her work.’


Maritsa Baksh, Annie Walmsley

Commended writers

Simone Noakes, Zahirra Dayal, Dr Peter Whittick, Maxine Davies, Alice Mason, April Yee, Okala Elesia


 Michelle Perkins left home at eighteen to train as a nurse in London. She began writing during an undergraduate degree in Fine Art, at Goldsmith’s in the 1990s. Working in nursing and on community arts projects, and later as a gardener following a move to Somerset; writing was often little more than journal entries and notes. However, in 2015, after three years of personal upheaval, and a year spent working on an Italian farm; she returned to the west country to begin again, this time with writing as her focus.

Of Perkins’ work, judge Roopa Farooki said:

‘There is a poetic pragmatism that is the writer’s own, and I feel there is great potential for this writer to be a bold and brilliant voice.’


Salli Hansell, K Patrick

Back to ‘Early Career Awards’