Weidenfeld & Nicholson Established in 1949. Publishers of high quality, prize-winning fiction and non fiction across a range of categories including autobiography, business, cookery, economics, fiction in translation, history, literary fiction and popular science. Phoenix is the paperback imprint. The Bookseller Industry Awards - Winner 2015


Celebrating Regional Voices

We are delighted to announce that we’ve found two new writers for our Hometown Tales series: Benjamin Webster and Maria Whatton.


Hometown Tales aims to celebrate regional diversity by publishing voices from across the UK. Each book will feature work from two writers – one established and one previously unpublished, found through open submissions – both writing about the places they think of as home. But we’re not quite finished – read on to find out how to submit your writing!

Hometown Tales: Lancashire

Benjamin Webster’s tale is a vivid journey through the political and cultural history of Manchester, from its industrial past to its eventual separation from the county. It will be paired with award-winning novelist Jenn Ashworth’s story of a pub crawl set over one night in Preston. Jenn is the author of A Kind of Intimacy, which won a Betty Trask Award in 2010, Cold Light, The Friday Gospels and Fell, and lectures in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Hometown Tales: Birmingham

Maria Whatton’s tale is a brilliantly-voiced, dynamic coming-of-age story about a boy from Erdington who finds himself caught up in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. It will feature alongside BAFTA award-winning comedian, writer and author of four full-length works, including the bestselling How I Escaped My Certain Fate, Stewart Lee, who will write about the post-punk scene in Birmingham and how music has shaped his memories of the city.

The other books in the series are:

Hometown Tales: Glasgow, which will include a moving account of growing up in the shadow of Woodilee Hospital by acclaimed short story writer and author of The Gracekeepers Kirsty Logan, and a deeply personal portrait of the city by new voice Paul McQuade.

Hometown Tales: Yorkshire, which will feature bestselling author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache Cathy Rentzenbrink writing about her childhood home in Snaith, and new voice Victoria Hennison on village life in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor.

Hometown Tales: Midlands, which will pair a story about a Jamaican girl adopted by a couple living in Fleckney, Leicestershire, by author of the Costa- and Commonwealth-shortlisted Pao by Kerry Young, with new voice Carolyn Sanderson’s tale of young love in Milton Keynes.

Hometown Tales: Highlands and Hebrides, which will include an account of growing up on the Isle of Mull by Colin MacIntyre, author of The Letters of Ivor Punch, which won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award in 2015. Colin is also an award-winning musician who records and performs as Mull Historical Society. His piece will appear alongside a bold and inspiring coming-of-age story set in Inverness by new voice Ellen MacAskill.

The first initiative of its kind to focus on regional diversity, Hometown Tales will provide a platform for new writers, helping them to launch the first step of their careers, edited and mentored by our team. The books will be published in paperback and ebook in June 2018 – keep up to date with news on #HometownTalesUK or by following us on twitter.

Hometown Tales: Yorkshire cover

In more exciting news, we’re opening submissions again, and are looking for writers to feature in:

Hometown Tales: Wales, with Tyler Keevil, a writer originally from Canada, now living in Wales, who will explore the idea of migration. Tyler is the author of three books and numerous short works, and has received several awards for his writing, including the Journey Prize and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Prize. He is one of the judges for the Wales Book of the Year 2017, and his new novel, No Good Brother, will be published by The Borough Press in February.

Hometown Tales: South East, with award-winning BBC broadcaster, founder of Boom Shakalaka Productions, and life enthusiast, Gemma Cairney writing about her home town of Margate, where she holds a monthly club night , ‘Gem’s Jams’. Gemma is the author of Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be and recently judged the Wellcome Prize.

What are we looking for? 

We’re looking for fresh, compelling and powerful stories that explore the theme of home and what it means to live and belong in the UK today. Writers who have not published a full-length work are invited to submit a piece of fiction or non-fiction, of approximately 15,000 words, and no more than 20,000 words, based on the idea of ‘hometown’. We are looking especially for tales on Wales and South East England.

Each writer selected for the series will receive an offer of a publication advance of £1,500 for their work to be published in a book alongside the work of an established writer. For more information on how to submit, please read the full terms and conditions and see the FAQs below. The deadline for submissions is 14 January 2018 at 5 p.m. GMT.

So, what does home mean to you?

Tell us your story.


How do I submit?

For a chance to see your writing in print, please send your hometown tale – which can be fiction or non-fiction and should be around 15,000 words, and no more than 20,000 words – to the following email address: hometown@orionbooks.co.uk. Submission of entries will be acknowledged with an automated message. Please make sure you read the full terms and conditions before submitting your work.

What are you looking for?

We’re looking for fresh new voices and compelling tales that stand out because they need to be heard. The theme is ‘hometown’ but we are keen to read submissions on all places in the UK – whether you’d like to write about a region, city, town, village, hamlet, mountain or field. Your tale can be a short story, memoir, or essay, and should be around 15,000 words and no more than 20,000 words. Tell us what home means to you!

What if my hometown isn’t represented by any of the published writers?

We will pair writers by region or by theme, so there is no restriction on place other than it must be in the UK. Hometown Tales is a series of books that we would like to grow to encompass all regions, so even if your work doesn’t fit with the regions or themes of the published writers this time, you are encouraged  to submit your tale with a suggestion of who we could approach to write a piece alongside yours.

What’s the deadline?

Our inbox will be open until 14 January 2018 at 5 p.m. GMT. If we would like to publish your submission we will contact you by the 31 January 2018.

Who will be reading the submissions?

Submissions will be reviewed by experienced editors at Weidenfeld & Nicolson. A shortlist of twelve will be read by Jennifer Kerslake, Editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Katie Espiner, Managing Director of the Orion Publishing Group, and Simon Savidge, who writes the blog Savidge Reads and is acting as Editorial Consultant for Hometown Tales.

What does ‘unpublished’ mean?

We’re looking for new writers who haven’t had a full-length work published by a traditional publishing press. Writers who have published individual short stories, essays, or poems in magazines or anthologies are encouraged to submit, as well as those who have made their work available via a self-publishing route. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, please do send a query to hometown@orionbooks.co.uk.

Can I submit my story elsewhere?

Yes, absolutely. We are happy to read pieces that have been submitted simultaneously, but ask that you let us know if your piece is selected for publication elsewhere as we can only consider works that are available to be published on an exclusive basis.

Who should I contact with a query?

Please send individual queries to hometown@orionbooks.co.uk and we will respond where possible. We will contact you via email by 30 November 2017 if we would like to publish your story. Please note that we will not contact you individually if your submission is unsuccessful and we are unable to enter into correspondence about submissions that are not selected for publication.

How can I promote Hometown Tales in my local library or bookshop?

We are producing leaflets and posters to promote the series and would be happy if you could share these with local libraries, writing groups and bookshops. We are looking to encourage the widest possible outreach and pool of talent. If you run an initiative to promote writing or reading, and would like to work with us, please be in touch with hometown@orionbooks.co.uk.

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