The Future is Back – applications are now open for a free creative writing and mentoring scheme for LGBTQ+ writers


The Future is Back is a FREE creative writing and mentoring scheme for LGBTQ+ writers. Black and brown writers are especially invited to apply. It is funded by Arts Council England, with Spread the Word and Central Islington Library as main partners.

The scheme is to help writers who wish to take their craft to the next level by providing a safe, supportive and stimulating environment, and giving insight into the professional writing world.

In Connecting Practice we will especially focus on how writers approach their work, what their process is like, how they sustain their practice. The Conversations will give the opportunity to hear from writers and artists in a small and supportive environment.

The 10 workshops are connected as a series and explore topics of craft. You’ll give feedback to others’ works and receive feedback on your own writing.

The Future is Back contributes to our global efforts with a dedicated anti-racist focus. It asks you as a creative person to reflect on questions of representation, voice, and anti-racist commitment. We are not writing about anti-racism (unless you choose to) but we are making sure that these questions are part of all our undertakings.

Please note that this is a prose writing scheme.

All info here:

Or email Emily at Spread the Word: [email protected]

The course is initiated and led by writer Olumide Popoola.

The details:

  • 10 participants;

  • 10 connected creative writing (prose) workshops delivered via Zoom;

  • Supportive environment with other LGBTQ+ writers;

  • Get published in a professionally printed zine;

  • Reading at Gay’s the Word with headliner Andra Simons;

  • Main leader and facilitator: Olumide Popoola;

  • Guest facilitators: Ama Josephine Budge, Leone Ross, Elizabeth Chakrabarty, Troy Onyango and Nadine Monem;

  • Online conversations about writers and artists who work with texts: Taey Iohe, Caroline Bergvall and Gabrielle Le Roux;

  • Sessions with “experts” on funding, opportunities, publishing, university routes and similar;

  • Access grant;

  • Individual feedback on 30 (polished) pages of your writing by one of the guest facilitators. ​

How to Apply 

To apply you must:

  • Be 18 years or older;

  • Be based in the UK;

  • Self-identify as LGBTQIA+;

  • Be available to attend all the sessions listed (see dates below);

  • Submit a writing sample (prose) of between 500-1000 words;

  • Submit a short paragraph on why you want to be on this course and why now, of up to 500 words.

Disabled writers are welcome to submit audio/visual files for their submission.

How to apply 

The deadline to apply is 11.59pm on Sunday 27 November.

Please apply via Submittable:

All participants will be informed by 5 December on the outcome of their application. If you have any queries about your application or this opportunity, please get in touch with [email protected]

Grants and Accessibility

There are funding grants available to writers who would like to be on the scheme and could benefit from:

  • internet subscription;

  • financial help towards childcare cost;

  • other access costs

If you’d like to apply for this, please tick the box on the application page.

Workshop dates (all workshops will be delivered via Zoom)

  • Saturday 10 December 2022, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 14 January 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 28 January 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 11 February 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 25 February 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 11 March 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 25 March 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 08 April 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 22 April 2023, 11am-1pm

  • Saturday 13 May 2023, 11am-1pm

There will also be extra sessions with established writers/artists and guest speakers on funding opportunities, publishing and university routes. We will confirm these dates in due course.

The Future is Back is funded by Arts Council England, and supported by Spread the Word.

Published 24 October 2022