(New York, NY) — PEN America today announced the launch of You Are A Writer: A Career & Craft Workshop Series, free online workshops starting in January 2021 to help writers navigate the business of writing and publishing. 

The four-part You Are A Writer series is designed to support emerging and early-career writers who have been historically excluded from publishing due to racial or ethnic identity, income, ability/disability, location, or gender identity. The workshops will focus on the business of books; guidance on writing, editing, and submitting work for publication; how to develop a platform as a writer; and an inside look at working with literary agents. In each two-hour session, participants will have opportunities to ask questions to a dynamic group of leaders in the publishing industry, including Nicole Counts, senior editor of One World; Nicole Chung, editor-in-chief of Catapult magazine; Uli Beutter Cohen, creator of Subway Book Review; and Jin Auh, literary agent at The Wylie Agency.

“We hope early-career writers from every state and territory will join us for these conversations with an inspiring group of change makers whose work demystifies the path to publication,” said Michelle Franke, executive director of PEN America Los Angeles

PEN America also said today that the PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship mentoring program will roll out in 2021 in a mostly virtual form, enabling participation from aspiring writers across the country, with in-person elements to be added as feasible. The literary mentorship program aims to break down barriers to access and enable new voices to be heard and celebrated within the literary community, in addition to providing writers with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career.

The fellowship, which previously took place in-person in Los Angeles, has been on temporary hiatus due to the COVID crisis. PEN America has since conducted a national survey for emerging writers and past program participants to inform a national model that can enable wider participation. The organization also held a series of conversations with peer programs in order to share lessons about how to engage, mentor, and support writers through virtual formats. PEN America expects to announce the opening of applications in the first quarter of 2021.

“PEN America has always held fast to the value that publishing needs to be more open and more accessible,” said Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, senior director of literary programs at PEN America. “With this free workshop series and exciting news on the horizon for Emerging Voices, we’re putting that value into practice, broadening our national reach and expanding the number of writers who can benefit from this rich set of programming.”

These opportunities for writers are a part of PEN America’s Literary Programs portfolio, which includes the PEN America Literary Awards, the PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program, the PEN World Voices Festival, as well as year-round public programs and writing workshops.

Registrations for the You Are A Writer: A Career & Craft Workshop Series are now open.