Getting under-represented communities into writing

Penguin

Define: Author

With the proliferation of social media, everyone has access to a microphone to tell their story, but traditional media still controls much of what makes it into the spotlight. Through our campaign, we wanted to show that Penguin's WriteNow programme isn’t about shoehorning yourself into traditional definitions of what it means to be an author, and in fact anyone can be one.

Problem

WriteNow is Penguin’s award winning programme which aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves. Each year they host free regional workshops for 150 talented writers, taking forward the 10 most promising writers onto a year long mentoring programme. This year, they wanted us to help create a campaign that would get noticed by as many potential applicants as possible.

Solution

Our campaign sought not just to redefine authorship, but to totally blow it open and expand its definition. By asking the question, ‘What does being an author really mean?’, we were able to show the breadth and diversity of many authors who might not typically spring to mind when you think of the word. 'Define: Author' was focused around the creation of a zine called 'The Expanded Dictionary of Authors' which aimed to showcase how else this wide array of authors define themselves – to show that anyone can define it, and anyone can be one. Brought to life with a handmade, collage aesthetic, we were able to let the authors' personalities shine through and create a whole series of assets that could be used to promote the campaign on social media.