Hachette UK has revealed this year’s entrants to its Grow Your Story programme, the publisher’s free development program for unpublished, non-agent writers from BAME backgrounds.
First launched in 2020 by Thrive, Hachette’s BAME network, the annual program offers writers the opportunity to develop their manuscripts through a series of online workshops.
In partnership with David Higham Associates and The Future Bookshelf, the workshops will be led by industry professionals, including Virago Editor-in-Chief Rose Tomaszewska, Author Vaseem Khan, Headline Editor-in-Chief Katie Packer, and Square Peg associate editor Emily Martin.
After the workshops, each writer will have six hours of one-on-one mentoring with an agent from David Higham Associates and an editor from Hachette UK, meetings with their fellow writers, and a Grow Your Story open day at Hachette’s London office.
The judges this year were Vaseem Kham (Hodder & Stoughton Author), Sara Adams (Editorial Director, Hodder & Stoughton), Niki Chang (DHA Literary Agent), Amy Mae Baxter (Bad revision of the form) and Lipfon Tang (senior marketing director of Quercus Books and co-president of the Thrive network).
The 10 writers include Tamyra Johnson, an alumnus of City, University of London’s The Novel Studio whose novel, the color of gold, “weaves literary analysis and poetic verse into the art of storytelling”; Ranjit Saimbi, highly commended at Bridport 2018 competition for his short story Near Llandaff and who is working on her first novel, Burnout; and journalist Monica Sarkar, whose first novel, pink crownexplores the experiences and conflicts of the diaspora.
Seema Clear, a Ugandan writer and “occasional poet” and Gujarati translator, is also joining the programme, along with Anna-Zohra Tikly whose work between the wars “was forged in the fire of the anti-apartheid movement”; Ilana Graham, final year liberal arts student at King’s College London; Joylene De-Whyte, a mature/YA writer who was shortlisted for the Penguin Random House #Merkybooks New Writers Prize 2021; and Tatum Anderson, journalist and writer working on Baby Mengohis second novel.
German-Ghanaian writer Franziska Bioh is currently developing her first novel and also joining the program, alongside Zayne Kadry, whose writing was shortlisted for the 2018 Penguin WriteNow program and the 2021 Morley Prize. She is also an alumnus of the HarperCollins Author Academy. Her work in progress is a “funny fantasy that follows a young woman with superpowers on a journey of self-discovery and growth.”
Tang said, “We are thrilled to welcome our cohorts for the second year of Grow Your Story. The level of submissions showed a very high level of ambition and such quality of writing. The 10 chosen writers are incredibly talented and write in multiple genres, from literary to new adult.
“We look forward to seeing how these 10 writers develop throughout our program and are excited to share this journey with them.”