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Romantic Novelists Association new diversity initiatives

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The RNA is launching ten new bursaries to encourage romantic novelists from under-represented backgrounds

Seven new Writer Diversity and Inclusion Bursaries will fund places on the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. Five will be for writers from any background currently under-represented in publishing. Two will be specifically for writers on a lower income or from a working-class background.

New Writers' Scheme co-ordinator, Imogen Howson, said: ‘The NWS is invaluable to aspiring authors. Every year we're able to celebrate when members achieve their first publishing contract – or when they receive advice or encouragement at just the right point in their writing journey. I'm excited that, due to these new bursaries, we can now extend the opportunity to join even more widely.'

The bursaries are funded by sponsorship from MBA Literary Agency, the Kate Nash Literary Agency, RNA members and authors Rachel Dove, Jean Fullerton, Milly Johnson and an anonymous donor.

Rachel Dove said: ‘Being a working class writer myself, and having got my first publishing deal through entering a competition, I know how hard it can be to juggle writing aspirations alongside the need for paid regular work and the restraints of raising a family or caring for family members. I hope that my bursary will leave a legacy for my family to be proud of, and give an aspiring writer the chance to follow their dreams, and write the book within them.'

Two further bursaries will fund attendance at the RNA's annual conference, and one bursary will be for a romantic fiction author experiencing mid-career difficulties.

All the bursaries are open for applications, with full details available on the RNA website.

• The RNA has also announced its Industry Award winners (pictured with RNA chair Nicola Cornick and vice-chair Alison May). These are: Librarian of the Year: Sharon Hunt from Kingswinford Library, Dudley; Romantic Bookseller of the Year: Waterstones, Truro; Media Star of the Year: Kaisha Holloway from The Writing Garnet blog; Agent of the Year: Amanda Preston from LBA; Publisher of the Year: Avon Books.

 

 

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