TWO women from Merton are on their way to writing success after being announced as the winners of a top publishing programme. 

Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency, selected residents Deshani  and Paige for the 2021 London Writers Awards. 

The London-based writers from communities currently under-represented in UK publishing – will be supported and nurtured through a ten-month development programme to pursue a career in writing. 

Over the course of ten months, Deshani and Paige will attend fortnightly critical feedback groups, participate in masterclasses, and receive bespoke development opportunities with editors, agents and the Spread the Word team.

Your Local Guardian:

Deshani Shan, 39, winner in Childrens/YA Category, said: “I’m so excited about being chosen as an awardee.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started in the workshops and feedback groups this month.

“The scheme has totally focussed my mind on my writing goals for the year, and I’m now more determined than ever to get my story written and published.”

Your Local Guardian:

Paige Cowan-Hall, 28, winner in YA/Children’s fiction category said: “When you’re writing you’re often doing it alone, you’re unsure if it’s any good or not.

“Being accepted is being told, ‘you’re not crazy, you’re good at this, there’s something here worth pursuing.’

“It’s a counter balance to the little voice that whispers you can’t do this.

“I’m most excited about being part of a community, getting constructive feedback, as well as some structure and support for my writing.

“Lockdown can wreak havoc on self-discipline so I’m honestly excited at the idea of being held accountable.”

The London Writers Awards has already led to a number of successes: 19 of the writers who have completed the programme now have agents, with 8 book deals confirmed.

For more information on the programme visit here