In March 2022, in collaboration with David Higham Associates, Metro.co.uk and the Arvon Foundation, Orion launched The Space to Write Project, with the aim of finding writers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who have the potential to write the next bestselling smash-hit novel. The Space to Write Project was inspired by Orion’s very own Candice Carty-Williams’s journey to publication – author Jojo Moyes offered Candice her holiday home as a writing retreat, and it was there that Candice went on to write the first draft of her bestselling novel Queenie.
The project offered writing advice in a series of four online panel discussions offering tips and tricks from established writers and agents, before submissions opened over the summer. Four fabulous winners were picked and received a place on a five-day residential or virtual writing course run by the Arvon Foundation – giving them the space and time to focus on their novels.
There were over 400 sign ups to the four online panel sessions, which were held online to allow as many writers to join as possible, with the recordings posted to YouTube right after.
We received over eighty submissions, with readers across Orion and DHA helping narrow this down to a shortlist of sixteen.
We’re so grateful to our amazing judges for their time and expertise. The judges included Sareeta Domingo, bestselling writer and editorial director for Trapeze, Lizzy Kremer, Literary Agent and Managing Director at DHA, bestselling author Mike Gayle and brilliant journalist Natalie Morris.
Our four fabulous winners, Abilasha Ramanan, Camille Boxhill, Rachel Dench and Kalbinder Dayal, were offered a place on a five-night residential or online writing course run by the Arvon Foundation, as well as a two-hour online ‘Arvon at Home’ masterclass course delivered via Zoom.