Reese Witherspoon’s book club is launching a fellowship to assist under-represented women

Those selected will receive an all-expenses-paid writer’s retreat

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Reese Witherspoon's book club has just launched LitUp, a new fellowship for writers that is aiming to support under-represented women.

LitUp hopes to provide an opportunity to mentor, elevate and champion first-time authors. The goal is to ensure that diverse stories are being told and read by more people. The new fellowship will reportedly be powered by The Readership, a pay-it-forward platform that aims to “rise up” diverse voices. LitUp is also sponsored through the Witherspoon media brand Hello Sunshine’s funding partners, including Google, Buick and Emerson Collective, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Witherspoon also said that she felt it was important to support the community as the book club's reach grows.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Who can apply for the fellowship?

Candidates must be unpublished, without an agent and be a US citizen. They must identify as a woman writer from a diverse background. This includes people of color, Native, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities or people from an ethnic, cultural or religious minority. They  must submit an original, completed manuscript (can be adult or young adult) written in English, and a woman must be at the center of the story.

What happens to those who are selected?

Those who are lucky enough to be chosen will receive an all-expenses-paid writer’s retreat next year. There, they will be able to work in-depth on their manuscript while also learning the ins and outs of the publishing business. If that's not exciting enough, they will also get a three-month mentorship with a published author, a first-look window with top book agents, and a book-launch marketing commitment from Hello Sunshine. Once the book is published, it will even get a "LitUp by Reese's Book Club" seal of approval.

“In addition to providing financial support and mentorship resources through LitUp, we wanted to give these authors—who are often deemed ‘risky’ by many publishers—the opportunity to work with an agent and a comprehensive marketing campaign for their work. We’re so excited that LitUp will help usher in new voices with dynamic stories to tell," Gretchen Schreiber, the RBC manager at Hello Sunshine, told The Hollywood Reporter.

In order to ensure that fellows are chosen fairly, Reese’s Book Club is also joining forces with We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) who will run an anti-bias screening process to review and help narrow down candidates. 

For those looking to apply, submissions are open now until 30th May 30 2021, and winners will be announced between the end of 2021 and the start of 2022. 

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.