Open call for submissions

This new set of commissions and open submissions invites writers to respond to the unique challenges of our times. Open Doors will explore innovation in the presentation of literature events and reflect on the experience of the global Covid-19 lockdown. Collaborations between writers, scientists and artists will result in new audience experiences on digital platforms and in person. The activity is supported by Arts Council England through the Ambition for Excellence programme.

“The year has been full of closed doors. Bad news, rising peaks, strange weather, grief. But in these awe-struck days, the strangest of our lives, art has consoled and comforted, challenged and enlivened, brought hope. To open a door, as Miroslav Holub reminds us in his celebrated poem, is to allow other worlds in, as well as gardens, trees and woods. To imagine that something else and some other place is possible. In this season of new work, we invite you to open new doors.”

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing

Funding is available for writers, scientists and artists working in collaboration. There are five distinct projects, four of which are open calls for which we welcome all applications – click through below to find out more about each opportunity:

1. New Ways of Working – £3,000

What has been learnt through lockdown about literature and the audience experience? In a socially distanced world how can festivals break out of the Zoom? We are looking for a literature producer to collaborate with us on a literature experience for our times. Find out more & apply >>

2. The Best of Digital – £3,000

How can we create incredible literature experiences through digitally native projects? Two commissions are available for writers working in collaboration with an artist or practitioner from a different field to create new, digitally native productions. Find out more & apply >>

3. A Room of One’s Own – £500

Three one-week Writer-in-Residence opportunities are available at the National Centre for Writing’s medieval home Dragon Hall, taking place in January, February and March 2021 (can be virtual residencies depending on changing guidelines and need). Find out more & apply >>

4. Weather With You

Commissioned pieces from four writers working across the UK, reflecting on ‘the weather with you’ and how the experience of 2020 has impacted on their work and their perceptions of the role of the writer. More information in 2021.

5. Translating Science

In partnership with the innovation community at Norwich Research Park. A series of structured open commissions will pair writers with scientists to explore the public understanding of life sciences, health and medical research. More information in 2021.

Open Doors has been made possible with the support of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund.

All illustrations original work by @elhornogram