In 2021, Reese Witherspoon’s book club (Reese’s Book Club) expanded its commitment to highlighting diverse stories by and about women with a new writers’ fellowship called LitUp. Now through May 31, 2022, it’s accepting applications for its second class of fellows.
To qualify, you need to be a woman from a diverse background—and LitUp’s definitions of both woman and diverse are as inclusive as they come. Woman includes everyone who “[identifies] as a woman, whether they are cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, or bigender.” And diverse refers to “diverse experiences that include (but are not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.”
You also have to be a writer who doesn’t already have an agent and has never published a book. You do, however, need to have written a fiction manuscript at least 40,000 words long “featuring a woman at the center of the story.”
A written manuscript is required because the program focuses on helping fellows prepare those manuscripts for possible publication. They’ll get to attend an all-expenses-paid five-day writers’ retreat to hone their writing skills and also learn about the publishing industry; and they’ll also be matched with a published author to serve as their mentor for three months. Reese’s Book Club will even connect the fellows to literary agents; and if anyone does end up with a book deal, Reese’s Book Club promises “marketing support” once their book hits shelves.
The application process also entails writing a 500-word summary of your book and some short essays. It’s open to U.S. residents at least 18 years old, and applicants will find out if they’re chosen for the fellowship sometime late this year or early 2023. You can find out more and apply here.