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Booktrust and Writers

This is the first in an occasional series about organisations of interest to writers. The first article is by Chris Meade, the Director of the British book promotion charity Booktrust, whose work provides a model for new initiatives to promote books all over the world.

Why should visitors to Writers Services make sure they bookmark the Booktrust site too?

1) It provides free information about literary prizes and publishers, as well as a searchable database of forthcoming titles, reviews of new and unusual books and information about our reader development projects like the amazing Bookstart scheme ( which gives books to babies, and Get London Reading (, our campaign in association with the Mayor of London's Office to encourage Londoners to make more time in their busy lives for books and reading.

2) It is also a portal to our other sites - is a brilliant resource for all those who care about what children read and includes an illustrators' gallery, interviews with authors, reviews and booklists. is the site of the Story campaign, jammed with information about competitions and opportunities for those who write short stories as well as read them, as well as a bibliography of more than 600 titles, and features, articles and thinkpieces about writing, publishing and promoting short stories

4) Writing Together was a project to promote writers in schools which brought together DfES, the QCA, NAWE (the National Association for Writers in Education), The Poetry SocietyLively and well-presented UK site supporting poetry with 4,000 members internationally and some thoughtful content. and a range of local agencies. It's led to a sea change in attitudes to writers in schools, now enshrined in a Creative Entitlement for teachers, adopted alongside the National Curriculum.

The scheme has now ended, but we've created as a lasting resource. It's a simple, easy-to-use website for teachers providing a step by step guide to setting up a writer visit and linking to all our other partners - all very useful if you're based in the UK and interested in working with schools. Our next project, Everybody Writes will look at lots of other ways to promote writing as a vital life skill in the 21st Century. Look out for further details this autumn.

5) Booktrust administers all kinds of book prizes, from the Early Years Awards to the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Most are for established writers and receive submissions from publishers only. New Writing Ventures is an annual series of major national prizes and awards for emerging writers in poetry, fiction and non-fiction, launched by The New Writing Partnership and administered by Booktrust. (See the recent WritersServices page).

This year's winners will be announced shortly, but keep an eye on the Booktrust website for news of the next round... and lots more useful information for those engaged in creative reading and writing.

Chris Meade, Director of Booktrust