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 community of writers called Alight. Until May 31, 2022, it is accepting applications for its second class of fellows.
To qualify, you must be a woman from a diverse background – and LitUp’s definitions of both women and diverse are as inclusive as possible. Women includes all those who[identifies] as a woman, whether cisgender, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer or bigender. And diverse refers to “diverse experiences that include (but are not limited to) LGBTQIA people, Indigenous people, people of color, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural and religious minorities.”
You must also be a writer who does not yet have an agent and has never published a book. You do however need have written a fictional manuscript of at least 40,000 words “featuring a woman at the center of the story”.
A written manuscript is required as the program aims to help fellows prepare these manuscripts for possible publication. They will be able to attend a five-day, all-expenses-paid writers’ retreat to hone their writing skills and learn more about the publishing industry; and they will also be paired with a published author to serve as a mentor for three months. Reese’s book club will even connect fellows with literary agents; and if someone ends up with a book deal, Reese’s Book Club promises “marketing support” once their book hits shelves.
The application process also involves writing a 500-word summary of your book and short essays. It is open to US residents who are at least 18 years old, and applicants will find out if they are chosen for the scholarship at the end of this year or the beginning of 2023. You can find out more and apply here.