Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

Write Across scheme aims to find new BBC One drama writers – Sunday February 13, 2022

A scheme to "find and develop the people who will be writing BBC One dramas in five years' time" has been launched by the broadcaster's boss.

Director general Tim Davie said Write Across would be piloted in Liverpool, before similar projects were rolled out across the UK.

He said Liverpool was picked because it was "a city of stories".

Tony Schumacher, who wrote the recent Liverpool-set drama The Responder, welcomed the initiative.

He said starting a writing career was "hard and it's difficult to know where to begin".

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Greene Door mentoring scheme returns for crime and thriller writers – Saturday February 12, 2022

Greene & Heaton is bringing back its Greene Door mentoring scheme for writers from underrepresented backgrounds, and this year has opened submissions specifically for crime and thriller writers. 

The literacy agency launched the initiative as part of the Greene Door Project in November 2021. The project aims to discover writers and help increase diversity of representation in the publishing industry. This time, the opportunity is open to unagented crime and thriller writers who are underrepresented in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or socio-economic background.

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Long-standing literary magazines are struggling to stay afloat. Where do they go from here? – Wednesday February 9, 2022

The Believer was once at the top of the literary magazine game.

A leading journal of art and culture, The Believer published the work of icons like Leslie Jamison, Nick Hornby and Anne Carson. It won awards, it launched careers -- it created a home for off-beat, quirky writing. When the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada bought the magazine, observers spoke of Las Vegas as a potential new hub for literary arts.

Then, in October of last year, the college announced it was shutting the magazine down in early 2022, citing the "financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic." In a statement explaining the decision, the dean of the school's College of Liberal Arts called print publications like The Believer "a financially challenging endeavor."

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'JK Rowling is a gold-plated hero': Author Anthony Horowitz blasts cancel culture and says writers are 'under siege' and should 'lead the agenda, not be cowed by it' – Monday February 7, 2022

Writers are ‘under siege’ from cancel culture and should be able to express their views ‘without the world falling in on you’, according to best-selling author Anthony Horowitz.

The man behind hit children’s book series Alex Rider and ITV series Foyle’s War said Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, who has been targeted by trans activists, was a ‘gold-plated hero’ who had done a lot for children’s literacy and charity.

Horowitz, 66, admitted that when writing a character who had a different ethnicity, sex or gender to his own he started ‘worrying’ what the reaction would be. 

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An 8-year-old boy wrote a book and publishers fight to publish it – Monday February 7, 2022

At just eight years old, the little Dillon Helbeig already enjoying great success after hiding in a library the book he wrote for someone to read. Without imagining that his 81-page work would become a resounding success.

Dillon is originally from Idaho, United States, he is currently in the second year of elementary school and it was last December when he finished writing and illustrating his first book The Adventures of Chrismis by Dillon Helbeig”.

Once he had his work ready, the little boy made a plan to hide it and took advantage of his grandmother taking him to the Ada Community Library in Bois to hide his book on the fiction shelf.

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Channel 4 launches TV writing programme in the North – Sunday February 6, 2022

The Talent Development Partnership is being run alongside New Writing North and aims to identify and support new writers, with a particular focus on supporting writers from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in the television industry.

“This partnership underlines Channel 4’s commitment to nurturing talent in the north of England. I’m delighted that we’re increasing our backing over the next three years so this new partnership with New Writing can help launch the careers of many more television writers,” said Sinéad Rocks, Managing Director, Nations & Regions at Channel 4.

“This initiative coupled with the wide range of projects being undertaken by our training and development team, 4Skills, will open opportunities to hundreds of people who might never have thought a career in the broadcast industry was for them.”

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Tell this AI your story's themes, and it'll write the first paragraph for you – Saturday February 5, 2022

Writing, I can tell you as a professional, is the most important yet difficult thing anyone has ever done in the world. I am therefore extremely grateful for Narrative Device, a browser-based AI doodad which generates the opening paragraph of a story based on two themes or things you feed into it. Finally, some help for the writers of the world! It's potentially interesting and useful, or at the very least it is fun to make a computer say silly things.

Narrative Device offers to provide "inspiration for a story from an AI", eating the themes you suggest to write the opening paragraph. Its creator, Rodolfo Ocampo, explains, "I am doing this to explore creative augmentation using AI, and human-AI creative collaboration" (the topic of his PhD research). It uses the much-vaunted OpenAI GPT3 API, which is trained in natural language from terabytes of text from websites, books, and Wikipedia pages. You know, the AI behind the latest version of AI Dungeon. That one. But here it's used to help the poor, struggling writers of the world, who I think we can all accept are the real heroes.

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Paradigm Hires Voltage Pictures Film Exec Babacar Diene, Ups Four To Agent – Saturday February 5, 2022

Paradigm on Thursday said it has hired Babacar Diene, the veteran film financing, sales and production executive who had been a VP at Voltage Pictures. He will become a Content Agent at Paradigm, which also said today it has promoted four staffers to agents.

Diene, based in Los Angeles, was most recently VP Acquisitions & Development at Voltage, the international finance, production and distribution company he joined in 2012. During his tenure he co-produced titles including Ava, starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, John Malkovich, Common and Geena Davis; Good Kids starring Nicholas Braun, Zoey Deutch and Julia Garner; Fathers & Daughters, starring Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul; and Pay the Ghost starring Nicolas Cage. His executive producer credits at Voltage include Time Is Up, Archenemy, Safer at Home, Redemption Day, Follow Me and Drive Hard.

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Interview: Publisher aims to revive short story market – Wednesday February 2, 2022

For new writers, short story anthologies are a wonderful way to explore a range of styles and get a sense of what editors are looking for in contemporary fiction. For spouses, Mark Wish and Elizabeth Coffey developing an anthology was a way to help keep the short story form alive and offer something new and interesting to readers. They created Coolest Stories Press and put out a call for Coolest American Stories 2022, which was just released. They share their process here:

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Tales of the unexpected: the surprise boom in UK short stories – Sunday January 30, 2022

The literary form is enjoying a renaissance, with the pandemic allowing people more time to consume and produce it

Before the pandemic, Deborah Yewande Bankole was on what she describes as a “steady diet of short stories”. She loved seeking out emerging writers and admired the work of Nana Kwame Adjei-BrenyahJulia Armfield and Danielle Evans, but had not considered writing one of her own.

So during lockdown, when furloughed from her job as a creative producer, she found herself with the time to sit down and write, and was surprised when what materialised was her own first short story.


Less than two years on, she has completed a six-month writing course at independent publisher Dahlia Books, been awarded a mentorship by Word Factory, the national short story organisation, with author Toby Litt and hopes to publish a short story soon. “Short story writing allows you to do things in literature in a variety of different ways that perhaps long-form writing doesn’t,” she said.

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