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The Octopus Scheme

The scholarship program from The Novelry.

Our scholarship scheme

At The Novelry we believe everyone should have the opportunity to tell their story and make their voice heard in fiction. We are committed to a culture of inclusivity, and all our writers are treated like stars regardless of how they join us.

Writers can—and should—come from anywhere. Writing is a form of expression that is inherently democratic, but almost every writer could use a little help and support, a boost of confidence and some structure and technical advice. Storytelling is a skill that can be developed, and writers often need someone who believes in them and their story more than anything else. We’re here for you and your story.

If you are a writer in hardship or difficult circumstances, we can help you.

Our Octopus Scheme offers eight fully-funded places on The Ninety Day Novel class, to help you bring to life a bold story, beautifully told, in any genre of fiction. You’ll acquire the technical skills to craft a compelling story and develop a page-turning plot with over 100 lessons offering unique expert tools to plan, structure and pace your progress.

Last year, the scholarship places were sponsored by The Novelry in partnership with bestselling authors Kristin Hannah, Samantha Shannon, Beth O’Leary, Patrick Gale, Juno Dawson, Jennifer Saint and SJ Watson. The Octopus Scheme opens for applications in August in 2024. Please keep an eye on this page closer to the time for more news on how to apply.

Writers helping writers

Our kind sponsors of the Octopus Scheme

We would like to thank the author sponsors of last year’s scholarships.

The Kristin Hannah Scholarship

Kristin Hannah is the multi-million New York Times bestselling author of novels including The Four Winds, The Winter Garden, Firefly Lane (adapted into a TV series for Netflix) and The Nightingale – the latter having been voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, and The Wall Street Journal among others. It also won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards and was selected for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club.

Kristin Hannah and her books
Samantha Shannon and her books

The Samantha Shannon Scholarship

Samantha Shannon is the New York Times and Sunday Times number 1 bestselling author of A Day of Fallen Night and The Priory of the Orange Tree, which was a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards 2020. She studied English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, from 2010 to 2013, specialising in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Principles of Film Criticism. Samantha is also the author of the dystopian fantasy series The Bone Season, spanning seven books, and is hard at work writing the fifth novel in the series.

The Beth O’Leary Scholarship

Beth O’Leary is the Sunday Times bestselling author of four big-hearted and hilarious novels. She wrote the first, The Flatshare, during her commute between London and Winchester, and it has since been adapted into a TV series for Paramount+. Since The Flatshare published in 2019, Beth has published a book a year: The Switch (which is also being adapted into a film) in 2020, The Road Trip in 2021, and The No-Show in 2022.

Beth O'Leary with her books
Juno Dawson and her books

The Juno Dawson Scholarship

Juno Dawson is the award-winning and Sunday Times number 1 bestselling author of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, the first book in her adult fantasy trilogy. Juno’s books span fiction and non-fiction, crossing YA and adult fantasy, and include This Book is Gay, Clean and Meat Market, for which she was awarded the YA Book Prize in 2020. Juno also writes television and podcast scripts including Doctor Who.

The Patrick Gale Scholarship

Patrick Gale is the Sunday Times bestselling author of novels including The Whole Day Through, the Richard and Judy book club picks Notes From An Exhibition and A Perfectly Good Man, the Costa Prize-nominated A Place Called Winter and his fourth Sunday Times bestseller, Take Nothing With You, as well as the Emmy award-winning BBC drama, Man in an Orange Shirt. Patrick’s latest novel, Mother’s Boy, is out now.

Patrick Gale and his books
Jennifer Saint and her books

The Jennifer Saint Scholarship

Jennifer Saint is the Sunday Times number 1 bestselling author of Ariadne, Elektra and Atalanta. Jennifer grew up reading Greek mythology and was drawn to the untold stories hidden within the myths. After thirteen years as a high school English teacher, she wrote Ariadne, which tells the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur from the perspective of the woman who made it happen. Ariadne was followed a year later by Elektra which became an instant bestseller. Atalanta published in April 2023.

The SJ Watson Scholarship

SJ Watson’s first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became a phenomenal international success and has now sold over 6 million copies worldwide. It won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year, and has been translated into more than 40 languages. The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014. SJ Watson’s second novel, Second Life, was published to acclaim in 2015 and his latest novel, Final Cut, in August 2020.

SJ Watson and his books
Someone writing in a notebook

Your FREE writing course

See if The Novelry is for you with our free mini course. 6 online lessons. No payment card details required.

Members of The Novelry team

Join us today

Wherever you are in your writing journey, we have the course for you. Beginners warmly welcomed.

Your coach

Coaching

You’ll be guided how to choose your writing coach in your course before you get started writing. You will be able to work side-by-side with a bestselling author as your mentor to ask them about their writing life and discover techniques appropriate to you and your story. Our writing mentors are positive, constructive and encouraging, and you’ll find your sessions allow time for questions to explore your plot in detail and get expert ideas to develop your fiction writing. Schedule one-to-one author coaching sessions by Zoom available in all time zones with the mentor of your choice.

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The Novelry team having a meeting
Your new writer friends

Community

As a member, you’ll enjoy the support of our thriving and active worldwide online community, interaction with fellow students and be able to join author guest sessions and Q&As with literary agents and publishing professionals, as well as weekly online writing classes. You’ll be able to join specialist genre writing groups and live online workshops, and get access to our library of recorded writing masterclasses with bestselling authors. We offer a phenomenal selection of resources for writers of every genre of fiction writing and memoir.

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The Novelry team having a meeting
a certificate

Certificate

You’ll have a testament to writing skills of a high standard with our certificate of completion. Proof of expertise with an accomplishment overseen by a respected professional.

The Novelry is the writing school recommended by the world’s leading literary agencies.

The Octopus Scheme: FAQs

We welcome applications from all under-represented writers and those in circumstances of hardship. We want to hear from you!

How do I qualify?

The Octopus Scheme is our initiative to nurture writing talent from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes, but is not limited to, writers from a low-income background, primary carers, ex-offenders, writers with a disability, writers of color and writers from the LGBTQIA+ community. You should be able to genuinely support a claim to be without the financial means to afford to pay for one of our courses. You should be able to begin the course in the year of application. Please review our terms and conditions here. Your application constitutes acceptance.

What do I need to take the course?

A notebook, a pen and a computer with a decent internet connection for use of our online learning platform and the Zoom-based coaching sessions. Our online learning platform is easy to use, even for the less tech-savvy among us. You will need to be able to set aside one hour a day for 3 months for your writing when you begin the course.

What’s the learning format and access period?

In the self-paced course, you will enjoy over 100 lessons with videos and text giving you guidance as to what to do on the day of your writing. You’ll be guided step-by-step within the course and be served downloads and tools at just the right time for the development of your story. Besides your writer coaching, you’ll enjoy the support of the online community, and be able to join us for live weekly writing classes suitable for all writers and regular online workshops for those at every stage of their writing, in every genre.

You will have access to the course for a year.

You can take the courses at your own pace. We suggest one lesson a day which will take from 20–30 minutes. On day seven, you’ll need to set aside an hour a day for your writing. We’ll share with you our ‘One Hour A Day’ method. All the ‘heavy lifting’ of creative development happens during the rest of the day as you consider what the lessons bring to your story.

English as a second language? Hearing or vision difficulties?

Our courses are suitable for people with visual or auditory impairment, dyslexia and for those with English as a second language. We offer an app which translates the course into 99 languages and a speak-aloud option too.

How do I choose my writing coach?

We’ll give you guidance on how to choose within the first lessons of The Ninety Day Novel class, before you book your first coaching session. Once we have shown you how to scope out your story, and you have considered the genre you’re writing in, it will be fairly obvious who your writing coach should be as they’ll be an author successfully published in the same genre.

Consider who you want to write with; take a peek inside the first pages of their published books on Amazon and see whose writing style appeals to you most strongly. The wonderful thing about The Novelry is that you can work with the writing coach of your choice and also book sessions with any other writing coach working within your genre. So if things change or you want help with specialist craft techniques from another coach, we’ve got you covered.

How does the writer coaching work?

You’ll meet when you begin The Ninety Day Novel. We’ll guide you on how to create an outline for a novel, and your coach or mentor will look at your planned storyline to ensure it’s as strong as it can be before you start writing, so that you can write with confidence. During your writing, your coaching will ensure the story gets stronger. We keep track of your progress and help troubleshoot any pitfalls and fill plot holes in the coaching sessions.

You’ll be able to book your coaching sessions at times to suit you. The sessions are 45 minutes live and online. All sessions are recorded for you to keep.