LitUp will help elevate, mentor and champion new authors with the mission of spotlighting more diverse stories.
“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,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “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.”
To qualify for the fellowship, LitUp candidates must be unagented and unpublished and identify as a woman writer from a diverse background — a person of color, Native, LGBTQIA, a person with disabilities or a person from an ethnic, cultural or religious minority. Submissions must be an original completed adult or young adult fiction manuscript featuring a woman at the center of the story.
Witherspoon will select five fellows to attend an all-expenses paid writer’s retreat where they will develop their manuscript and learn about the business side of publishing, a three-month mentorship with a published author to prepare their book for market and a first-look window with top agents and a book launch marketing commitment, including use of a “LitUp by Reese’s Book Club” seal. The program is powered by The Readership, a pay it forward platform focused on getting more people reading and bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront.
Applications are due May 30.