Writers in Residence 2021

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 are awarded to writers working in the English language. The proposed dates of the tenures are February, May, September and November. 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
  • 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 single copy of a work published in the last three years;
  • a one-page CV/biography;
  • a statement about their take on (re)defining ‘liberal values’ (250 words);
  • a statement on the work that they plan to do at the Library (250 words);
  • a proposal for an evening event and day masterclass (250 words each);
  • the length and suggested dates of their residency;
  • Please note that we can only accept manuscript submissions via email (see point 10). All other submissions must be submitted by post.
  1. Eligible texts: Books must be published in the UK. Submitted texts must have been published for the first time in the last three years (2018-2020) or be forthcoming (2021). Prose fiction and non-fiction, poetry, screenplays and drama are all eligible for submission. The Residency programme will consider unpublished scripts if submitted with evidence of performance.
  2. 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.
  3. Authors: Authors may be based anywhere in the world but due to the nature of the residency programme activities, applicants should be able to communicate fluently in English.
  4. 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. See this page for details.
  5. Shared residency: The programme has permitted two writers to split a month’s residency. Shared residency submissions should be submitted by both writers.
  6. Schedule: Judging takes place in August, and winners will be notified by the end of August. The official announcement is made at Gladfest in early September.  All winners are invited to a launch event at the National Liberal Club in Westminster, London (likely November/December).
  7. Entry regulations: Winners agree to take part in publicity activity and abide by Library rules during tenure. Entry is free and limited to one entry per author. You cannot enter under a pseudonym. Due to volume of entries, we will confirm your submission, but detailed correspondence or feedback cannot be offered.
  8. Postal address: Submissions should be sent to Writer in Residence, Gladstone’s Library, Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3DF.
  9. Email: Only manuscript entries can be submitted via email, clearly marked 'Writer in Residence 2021'. Hard copy books should be posted, accompanied by a hard copy application. Do not split applications into post and email.
  10. Queries: Queries should be directed to louisa.yates@gladlib.org only, clearly marked ‘Writer in Residence 2021’. Emails to other addresses will not be redirected.
  11. GDPR: Submissions will be kept for one year from date of submission.

The submission period for Writers in Residence 2021 is Monday, 3rd February - Friday, 13th March 2020.

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