According to Variety, Reese Witherspoon has announced that her eponymous book club is launching a new program for underrepresented writers.
Called the LitUp Fellowship, the program will aim to champion new authors with a focus on more diverse voices — voices which, typically, are either tokenized or otherwise underrepresented in traditional publishing.
“As our community and reach continues to grow, we have all collectively sought out innovative ways to create real change and leave an indelible mark on the greater reading community,” said Reese Witherspoon, in a statement provided to Variety. “We know there are so many powerful stories from undiscovered voices, and now, more than ever, we need to hear them. We are so thrilled that LitUp will serve as a launchpad for a new generation of authors and provide them with the necessary tools and resources to forge formidable careers as storytellers.”
In order to qualify for the LitUp Fellowship, writers must meet certain criteria. To wit:
- They must be unagented and unpublished (though it isn’t clear if self-published authors are eligible for the fellowship).
- They must identify as a woman writer from an underrepresented background — namely, a person of color, Native, LGBTQIA, a person with disabilities, or a person from an ethnic, cultural, or religious minority.
- Their story must feature a woman at the center of the story, and it must be adult fiction or young adult fiction.
Reese Witherspoon, herself, will be selecting five women for the fellowship. The lucky winners will receive an all-expenses-paid writer’s retreat where they will develop their manuscript and learn about the business side of publishing. They will also receive a three-month mentorship with a published author to prepare their book for the market, and the first-look window with top agents and a book launch marketing commitment, including use of a “LitUp by Reese’s Book Club” seal.
Variety also reports the program is powered by The Readership, a platform on a mission to get more people to read and push underrepresented voices forward.
Applications are currently being accepted from now until May 30, and you can apply here.