Creative Future is an arts charity that supports creative people, underrepresented artists and communities facing barriers and inequality to opportunity. Our mission is to make the arts more diverse and representative of the world we live in.
This year, we’re incredibly grateful to receive a donation from CLA to support the Creative Future Writers Award, our flagship project. Founded in 2013, it’s an annual development programme that includes the UK’s only national writing competition for all underrepresented writers.
The writers who enter our competition face significant issues. For many, it's the first time they've ever entered a literary competition--the first step on their journey as writers. We want to pull barriers down for them, not put them up, and thanks to the support of CLA we’ll be able to keep the competition free to enter.
“This is a phenomenal award for underrepresented writers on the margins, and it’s free! A lot of them have barriers where you have to pay. It’s really important to take advantage of opportunities like this.”
- Shazia Altaf, 2021 Platinum Fiction Winner
We award twelve prizes for both poetry and short fiction. Winners are selected by a panel of leading literary figures, such as Dorothy Koomson, Joelle Taylor, Lemn Sissay, Kerry Hudson, Kit de Waal Anthony Anaxagorou, and industry experts, including Sarala Estruch from Poetry School and Aki Schilz from The Literary Consultancy.
Winners are given the opportunity to develop their work through training, mentoring, assessment and coaching--£12,000 in amazing prizes given in-kind by our industry partners, including TLC, Poetry School, Faber Academy, Curtis Brown Creative, Society of Authors and more.
“Not only did I win the award, but the development opportunity that is part of the award is absolutely amazing. That's the main reason I entered this competition.”
- Susan Downer, 2019 Platinum Prose Winner
We had a record number of entries this year, with over 1,300 unpublished writers across the UK submitting their work— up an astonishing 186% on 2018. Two thirds of our writers report more than two issues, a third are from a Global Majority background, and 40% are from the LGBTQIA+ community. CLA’s donation has allowed us to significantly expand our reach to more underrepresented writers nationally. These are voices we don’t usually hear from in the mainstream literature sector, lots of whom may struggle to be able to write, let alone get into the publishing industry.
Support from CLA will enable us in 2022/23 to:
- Add a third genre—creative non-fiction—to the Awards
- Pilot a regional Writer In Residence scheme in the Midlands and North—towns with little literary or cultural activity
- Expand our workshop programme by 2/3: a programme of 10 sets of sessions across the UK
- Keep the competition free to enter
We’ll be announcing the winners of this year’s competition on Thursday 13 September, and the shortlisted writers will be announced at the end of July. We’re excited to discover some exceptional new voices and are eager to continue working with them to develop their writing careers.
"Winning the prize meant a great deal to me. I’ve been writing all my life and now nearing 60, it is a wonderful reminder that I still have truth to speak to power."
- Michele Powponne, 2020 Platinum Prose Winner
Each year we hold a showcase event to celebrate the winners of our competition. In 2022, this will be at Southbank Centre as part of London Literature Festival. The twelve winning writers will read their work alongside our hosts, best-selling novelist Dorothy Koomson and award-winning poet Joelle Taylor. All are published in our awards anthology which debuts at the event. Join us to celebrate. Book your ticket here.
Find out more about the Copyright Licensing Agency Development Fund and who we have supported in the past here.