Words by Tash Payne | Feb 08 2024

Bloomsbury is offering financial support to academic authors struggling with publishing-related costs, further supporting the diversifying of academic publishing in the UK.

Bloomsbury Academic has announced a new Widening Representation Pilot Programme as part of the division’s mission to make its publishing more inclusive, equitable and diverse. The programme will offer financial support to cover publishing-related costs for authors who would not otherwise be in a position to publish. This could include early-career scholars, scholars in precarious employment, authors for whom English is not a first language, and those with accessibility requirements.

Through the programme, Bloomsbury Academic will begin to take swift, decisive and meaningful actions to further diversify the authors and work it publishes, actively improving access for under-represented groups. Funding is available for any of the areas in which the division publishes. An internal Publishing Board – comprising Senior Editorial, Marketing and Production staff – will seek to ensure that a variety of projects across a range of subjects are awarded funding equitably. Funding available per title is capped at £1,500/$1,850 (USD) for the pilot period, after which the figure will be reviewed.

Pooja Aggarwal, Director of Academic & Professional Publishing, commented: “Bloomsbury is becoming an industry leader in helping to diversify academic publishing and study in the UK. I am incredibly proud to follow the announcement of our Academic Writing Fellowship with this initiative, which will offer tangible, transformative support to talented authors struggling with the costs of preparing a book for publication. Financial pressure can be a huge barrier for writers and we want to tear down those barriers for as many people as we can. I am excited to see what we can do in this pilot period and how the programme progresses in future.”

To apply for funding from the Widening Representation Pilot Programme, authors should first discuss their project with the relevant Commissioning Editor for their field – a full list of contacts can be found here. If the Editor agrees that the project is suitable, they will solicit peer reviews in the usual way before submitting the project for review by the Publishing Board. If approved, the author will receive a formal offer to publish and confirmation of the amount of funding available to them.

In November 2023, Bloomsbury announced its Academic Writing Fellowship in partnership with Writers & Artists, the first of its kind in the UK academic community. Available to unpublished academic authors from under-represented communities, the first recipient of the inaugural fellowship was announced on 1 February. The division is also a leading partner in the Lit in Colour campaign with Penguin Random House and The Runnymede Trust, working to diversify the English and Drama curriculum in the UK. Last year, Methuen Drama unveiled its (Incomplete) Lit in Colour Play List to support schools with creating more representative and inclusive drama experiences.

Find out more about applying for the Widening Representation Pilot Programme here.

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