UPDATED: J.K. Rowling Announces Her Support of the Killer Women Mentoring Scheme
UPDATE (September 5):
Earlier this week, the Killer Women Mentoring Scheme announced its selected winners to take part in the program. The initiative extends this opportunity to support black, Asian, minority ethnic, and working-class female writers.
Kahalia Bakosi, Louise Cannon, Laura Mace, and Veena Muthuraman were the four lucky writers to be offered a place in the mentorship. Jane Casey (Maeve Kerrigan series), Tammy Cohen (The Broken, First One Missing), Colette McBeth (Call Me a Liar), and Emma Kavanagh (The Missing Hours, The Killer on the Wall) will act as mentors to each of the winners, respectively. Out of the more than 50 applicants, the Killer Women mentors felt confident with their selection.
The standard of submissions was impressive and covered a hugely diverse range of subjects. With such an array of raw talent, it was hard to whittle the entries down, but we’re very happy with our final choices – four very different writers, each with their own individual style and voice, informed by their particular backgrounds. Publishing can sometimes appear to be homogeneously middle class, and we feel that each of our four mentees has the potential to produce something uniquely fresh and exciting, and we can’t wait to start working with them to further hone their ideas and see where the coming year might take them.
Each winner receives a year under their respective mentors to help bring their stories to life as well as possible publications from HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
The Killer Women Mentoring Scheme is a brand-new initiative designed to support emerging female crime writers from black, Asian, minority ethnic, and working-class backgrounds. The scheme, which will offer mentorship, workshop, and possible publication opportunities, has been backed by one of the most loved writers in the crime genre: J.K. Rowling, otherwise known under her crime fiction alias, Robert Galbraith.
Stating that she hopes the Killer Women scheme will open doors to talented new voices, Rowling, whose Harry Potter debut was turned down by 12 publishers, reflected on the difficulty of breaking into the writing world as a newcomer.
For me, writing crime fiction behind the pseudonym Robert Galbraith was a way to ensure that my books be judged on the merit of the writing alone, but I know how hard it is when you first hit the scene as an unrecognised author.
In fact, even with her wizarding world success under her belt, Rowling’s early Galbraith submissions earned their own share of rejection letters, including one that said her story could not be published with “commercial success” and suggested she try a writing course or group to learn the tricks of the trade.
Long an advocate for women from minority and working-class backgrounds, Rowling’s support of the Killer Women Mentoring Scheme came as no surprise to many of her adoring fans. Combined with her own passion for crime fiction, Rowling’s feminist streak makes her backing of a women’s mentorship program like this one a natural choice, but she is not alone. Successful applicants of the Killer Women Mentoring Scheme will not only earn the chance to access professional development, editing, and potential publication opportunities. They will work closely with a group of four established female crime writers: Jane Casey, author of the Maeve Kerrigan series; Tammy Cohen, author of a number of works including The Broken and First One Missing; Emma Kavanagh, author of The Missing Hours and The Killer on the Wall, among other works; and Colette McBeth, author of psychological thrillers, the most recent of which was titled Call Me A Liar.
United Kingdom women wishing to enter for a chance at this fantastic career-building opportunity, which is funded by Arts Council England, can do so free of charge. Applications close on July 1, 2019.