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Word Factory Apprentice Award 2019

It is a tremendous honour to welcome a wonderful group of short story writers to the Word Factory family – the winners of the 2019 Word Factory Apprentice Award.


Please say hello to Roya Khatiblou, Giselle Leeb, Clare Howdle, Melissa Wan and to specially commended writer Lucy Beevor

I am particularly proud that the award, offering a place in the Word Factory community and nine-month mentorship, has created a national template for developing writing talent with the support of Arts Council England, New Writing North and the Northern Writer’s Award, Comma Press, Literature Works, Writing West Midlands and the Society of Authors. Their generosity has allowed us to offer bursaries for our winners to attend our year-long programme of short story classes and special events.

Enormous thanks to all our supporters, apprentices and judges – and this year in particular to mentors Lisa Blower, Leone Ross, Carys Davies and Chris Power and to my fellow judges Irenosen Okojiee andPaul McVeigh


Leone Ross:

I am so looking forward to working with Giselle Leeb. She has the kind of watchful eye and dark imagination I enjoy. Really pleased that the ever-hard-working and wonderful Word Factory have brought us together.


Chris Power:

Writing fiction is considered a solitary activity, but at some point in the process it must become collaborative. Every story I’ve ever written has been improved by having someone else read it and tell me what they think. I’m really looking forward to working with Clare Howdle over the next nine months; I think we’re both going to learn a lot.


Irenosen Okojie:

I was delighted to be a judge for the Word Factory’s 2019 / 2020 Apprenticeship Scheme, an important mentoring initiative nurturing the voices of emerging short story writers. The quality, range and artistry of stories from this year’s winners show the short form is alive, thrilling and as wholly necessary as ever.


Paul McVeigh:

An incredible year for this scheme as it goes from strength to strength and spreads around the UK. This year the quality of the entries took another leap and the lucky award winners will work with some of the UK’s finest short story writers – what an amazing opportunity.


Recognising the quality of our writers, the Society of Authors is also offering each free membership to their organisation.

In other exciting news, our 2018 Apprentice Award recipient Claire Adam has won the Desmond Elliott award for her debut novel Golden Child.

What we write transforms not only ourselves but the world around us. That’s a big commitment and we are looking forward to getting on with it.

–Cathy Galvin. Director and founder, The Word Factory


Word Factory Apprentice Award 2019: in association with New Writing North, Literature Works, Writing West Midlands and Comma Press. With Carys Davies, Lisa Blower, Chris Power and Leone Ross.


Read more about our 2019 Apprentice Award winners.

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