Escalator is our annual talent development scheme open to unpublished early career fiction writers (novel or short story) living in the Eastern Region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk). The region is made up of a diverse society of many voices, and supporting writers who are under-represented on UK bookshelves has become a core objective of the project. It has been running for 16 years and has supported over 100 writers at the beginning of their careers, many of whom have gone on to sign with agents, publish and win awards and critical recognition for their writing.

At its heart is a period of mentoring; a one-to-one exchange between writer and mentor, whom interact regularly to review work, discuss challenges and set goals. The selected applicants will also take part in a residential retreat at NCW’s Dragon Hall campus in Norwich and a final showcase event at which mentees have an opportunity to present their work and network with agents, editors and other publishing industry professionals.

‘The Escalator scheme does essential work to support writers both practically and creatively at a critical point in their writing lives.’ – Author and NCW Patron, Sarah Perry FRSL

We’re delighted that in 2021-22 we are able to run Escalator with a full cohort of ten writers, following a successful fundraising campaign and generous donations from the Amazon Literary Partnership and the general public. This will also be the second year that we have run the programme in a ‘hybrid’ format, making the most of both online platforms and opportunities to meet up in person (subject to COVID-19 restrictions).

The Escalator mentors for this year are: Megan Bradbury, Michael Donkor, Yvvette Edwards, Owen Nicholls and Kate Worsley. Find out more about the mentors and their work here.

Escalator is generously funded by Amazon Literary Partnership, The Lady Hind Trust and donors of the ‘Escalator Needs Your Help’ campaign.

The National Centre for Writing also offers a mentorship programme for emerging translators.


Not from the region?

Regional Literature Development Agencies across England are offering exciting opportunities for writers in their region:

Literature Works (South West)
New Writing North
New Writing South (South East)
Spread the Word (London)
Writing East Midlands
Writing West Midlands