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New Creative Writing scholarship aims to nurture underrepresented literary talent

Leading literary agency Aitken Alexander has created a new scholarship in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, aiming to find and nurture literary talent from groups underrepresented in publishing.

Books in a book shop as Birkbeck establishes Kit de Waal scholarship

Leading literary agency Aitken Alexander Associates has created a new scholarship in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. The award, which will support two part-time students over the next four years, will be available to Master’s students who would not otherwise be able to afford to study. It aims to find and nurture literary talent from groups underrepresented in publishing.

Birkbeck’s Creative Writing Master's programme was first established 13 years ago, and has a proud history of supporting authors in reaching their full potential, with 11 graduates from the course publishing novels with major publishing houses in 2016 alone.

Clare Alexander, Lesley Thorne and Lisa Baker, Directors of Aitken Alexander said: “We very much look forward to our new partnership with Birkbeck. Aitken Alexander has always represented a diverse range of writers in the English language from all over the world.  We now want to provide practical help for aspiring writers in the UK to make the literary world more approachable for any talented individual.”

Julia Bell, Director of the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck said: “The literary world can only flourish if it is representative of different parts of society, and talent from all backgrounds has the opportunity to prosper.

“On the Birkbeck MA we pride ourselves in fostering diverse voices, and since the establishment of the Kit de Waal Scholarship in 2016 we have found that we have hit a nerve in contemporary publishing. We live in a rich and diverse society and yet this is often not represented by the writers who emerge into print or the editors who go on to work in publishing. Through scholarships, bursaries and our unique part-time courses, the Birkbeck Creative Writing Programme aims to change that. 

“Adding the prestigious Aitken Alexander to our list of donors is an exciting collaboration for us and vital to providing the kind of expert guidance which can benefit aspiring authors so much, and ultimately enable a wider range of voices to be heard.”

Jess Goulson, Head of Major Gifts at Birkbeck said: “Establishing a scholarship is an act of great vision. Not only does it have a tremendous impact on the lives of the student recipients, but also on society as a whole by creating fairer access to a university education. We are delighted to welcome Aitken Alexander Associates to our community of donors.”

To be eligible for the award, prospective scholars must apply for the MA and have been accepted for a place. They will then be invited to apply internally for the scholarship - they will also be eligible to apply for other awards and bursaries. 

Applications for 2018 entry on Birkbeck’s MA Creative Writing are now open. 

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