Writers in Residence 2019

Please note submissions for Writers in Residence 2019 are now closed. Click here to view our shortlist.

Now seeking applicants for its seventh year, Gladstone’s Library’s competitive Writer in Residence programme provides space and resources for four writers whose work engages with liberal values. By liberal values, we do not mean views aligned with any one political ideology, but rather:

  • a commitment to freedom and social justice;
  • tolerance and respect of difference;
  • open-mindedness coupled with intellectual curiosity;
  • generosity of spirit and a willingness to learn from others.

Founded by William Ewart Gladstone in 1894, the Library is committed to maintaining his legacy of engagement with social, moral and ethical questions. It does not claim to provide any of the answers but it does offer a comfortable, sociable and stimulating environment so that answers may be found. unparalleled resources for creative study including renowned collections of historical, cultural, theological and political materials: 32,000 books came from Gladstone’s own library, many containing annotations made by Gladstone himself. We know from his diaries that Gladstone read on average five books a week – any applicants can be sure that the Library has something to offer them. The connections Gladstone made between the various disciplines he collected helped shape his form of liberalism.

Through reflection and writing during their stay, Writers in Residence help us redefine liberal values for the 21st Century. Their engagement might be critical, supportive or merely observant. Gladstone was a polymath with interests ranging widely across religion, history, social justice and politics from Classical times to what was, for him, contemporary culture. The scope of these four residencies is equally wide and we welcome fiction and non-fiction writers.

Gladstone's Library is unique. It is the only residential library in the United Kingdom. It provides a meeting place dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals. The Residency programme is designed to share the Library’s benefits with as many people as we can, broadening the Library’s audience and benefiting from their perspectives in turn. The Library welcomes all, regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. All Writers in Residence will be at ease with this inclusive ethos.

Four places will be awarded to writers working in the English language. The proposed dates of the tenures are February, May, September and November 2019. We like to support writers as best we can and we know that many cannot simply abscond from regular life for a month. Residencies can therefore be taken in two two-week blocks, and residencies of a single fortnight will also be considered. We are also flexible with dates. Please indicate the length and suggested date of Residency on your application.

Writers at all stages of their career should feel able to apply for Residency. We are proud to say that Residencies have supported some of the finest writers in the English language, whether they won for their seventeenth book or their first.

Each residency includes:

  • Accommodation in an ensuite room for a period of four consecutive weeks;
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and refreshments (telephone calls, alcoholic drinks, packaged snacks and formal Afternoon Tea are not included);
  • Travel expenses to and from the Library at the start and end of the residency (HMRC mileage allowance or standard bus/train fares within the UK);
  • An honorarium of £100.00 per week.

Each winning author must:

  • Attend the official London prizewinning ceremony in October
  • Participate, where possible, in any other publicity events held before or after their residency;
  • Respond to media/press enquiries as appropriate and by prior agreement with the library’s warden, Peter Francis;
  • Submit two blog posts to the Gladstone’s Library website;
  • Lead a creative writing workshop to not more than twenty participants;
  • Give an evening talk about any aspect of their writing and/or creative life;
  • Abide by the normal terms and conditions for guests staying at Gladstone’s Library. 

Terms and Conditions:

  1. Entrants must submit:
    • a one page CV / biography;
    • a copy of the book they would like the judges to consider;
    • a 250-word statement about their take on (re)defining ‘liberal values’;
    • 250 words on the work that they plan to do at the Library;
    • a 250-word proposal for an evening event and day masterclass;
    • the length and suggested dates of their residency.
  2. Shared residency: The programme has permitted two writers to split a month's residency. Shared residency submissions should be submitted by both writers.
  3. Submissions: Submissions must be written in English, and applicants should be able to communicate fluently in English.
  4. Eligible texts: Prose fiction and non-fiction, poetry, screenplays and drama are all eligible for submission. Submitted texts must have been published in the last three years.
  5. Manuscript submissions: We accept manuscript submissions accompanied by evidence of a contract and publishing schedule. Preference will be given to books due to be published during the relevant year of residency.
  6. Non-eligible texts: Academic monographs are not eligible for Writer-in-Residence and should be submitted to the Library’s scholarship programme. Self-published authors are not eligible for Writer-in-Residence, but are supported through other Library programmes.
  7. Schedule: Judging takes place in August, and winners will be notified by the end of August. The official announcement is made at Gladfest in September. Winners will be invited to a launch event at the National Liberal Club. Winners agree to take part in publicity activity and abide by Library rules during tenure.
  8. Entry regulations: Entry is free and limited to one entry per author. You cannot enter under a pseudonym. Due to volume of entries, no correspondence can be entered into.
  9. Postal address: Submissions should be sent to Louisa Yates, Gladstone's Library, Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire, CH5 3DF.
  10. Submitting via email: Gladstone's Library recommends that entrants encrypt and password protect electronically-submitted personal documents such as their CV or manuscript submission. Passwords should be sent separately. 
  11. Your privacy: To protect your privacy, unsuccessful submissions will be destroyed within one year of the 2018 deadline. Gladstone's Library will strip personal information from the record of submissions and retain for our historical archive. Successful applications will be retained on file for our records. These will be stripped of personal information.

For further information on how Gladstone's Library can support you please click here.

'You are looked after well - the food is delicious, the accommodation, with writing desk, is comfortable, quiet and spotless. But it is the library that drew me, [...] I wrote so much, and am sure the magic will work again' (Vanessa Gebbie, 2013)