Changemaker Authors Cohort
A Unique Writing Cohort for Activists, Organizers and Thought Leaders
Changemaker Authors Cohort is a new, yearlong intensive coaching program supporting full-time movement activists and social justice practitioners to complete books that create deep, durable narrative change, restructuring the way people feel, think, and respond to the world. Our goal is for our changemaker-authors to have a submittable package for publishers by the end of the program year.
Narrative Initiative weaves the power of narrative into social justice movements to achieve long-term equity. We aim to nourish and grow long-term progress for social justice by equipping changemakers with the necessary tools, relationships, and resources to bond our communities and determine our destinies through the power of narrative.
To help create new networks of opportunity, Narrative Initiative is partnering with the Unicorn Authors Club to offer this unique writing cohort for changemaker-authors.
The current application period closed November 20, 2021.
The Unicorn Authors Club is a powerful community of BIPOC authors (and allies who really mean it!) devoted to finishing their books in a supportive online environment. The core of the Unicorn approach is the Story/Skills/Sanctuary framework. We support authors, both individually and as a group, to clarify the content of their books (Story), level up their capacity as writers (Skills), and write consistently (Sanctuary).
The one-year program will follow a three-term structure, in which the Story/Skills/Sanctuary concepts are adjusted for the different stages of the writing process. Each term will have a clear focus, and each writer will develop outcome goals in terms of both process and craft. At the heart of the process are our mandatory monthly craft meetings designed both to strengthen your writing and improve your engagement with it. (Topics might include structure, voice, immediacy, audience, timelines, decolonization, writing the hard parts, and revision.)
We also aim for your book to get published, and we offer support toward that end, including:
- Assessment, goal-setting
- Peer circles for accountability and support
- Mid-year intensive writing retreat (5 days)
- Information on publishing process and preparing submission packet (depending on genre)
- Pitch panels with editors/agents
We Invite Applicants
Are you a movement activist or social justice practitioner with a great book idea or a manuscript in the works? We are opening up our application process for our first cohort of 12-15 diverse authors to participate in the Changemaker Authors Cohort, a uniquely supportive writing program. The application period closed November 20, 2021. We will notify all applicants by January 15, 2022.
We invite applications from people who:
- Are movement activists and social justice practitioners who have a story to tell. We want to support works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and graphic storytelling that are consistent with your—the applicant’s—lived experience of building justice. This can include books that are about communities building and using their power through organizing and activism, as well as works of imagination that contribute to the plurality of voices in the broader artistic and cultural discourse.
- Are not working as a full-time writer but have a work in progress or a strong concept for a book of any genre (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, graphic storytelling, hybrid/other) that fuels the momentum of social justice and movement work. A strong concept is specific, not vague -- e.g. "a book about anger" vs "a book about survivors and how to live with the rage that arises from our experiences.” A strong concept entails a couple of components:
- A single, focused book idea (not a few different options of books you COULD write).
- A clear sense of what research would be needed (if any), that the research is already done, or the book draws from experience you have already had.
- Want to be in community with other changemakers who are also committed to writing.
- Have the time and commitment to develop their book idea into a submittable package over the course of the 12-month residency, beginning March 1, 2022 and ending February 28, 2023.
- Are not enrolled in a degree program at the time of their participation in the cohort.
You should keep in mind that our program will be run on U.S. time. In addition to the mandatory monthly meetings, we offer other synchronous gatherings including co-writing and group coaching. The benefit of these offerings is in presence and interaction, and therefore these meetings are not recorded.
We will select a cohort of 15 diverse changemaker-authors to participate at no cost in the Changemaker Authors Cohort, our unique supportive writing and coaching program. Those selected for no-cost participation will also receive a stipend of $1,000.
At Narrative Initiative’s discretion, we may additionally accept into the cohort up to three authors who have resources to cover their own program costs. Applicants who wish to be considered as paying participants should contact Narrative Initiative directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the end of the one-year cohort term, each participant will complete a rough draft of their book, be ready to submit a package to agents/publishers, and have a shortlist of planned submissions. Examples of submittable packages: For memoir and fiction, a complete synopsis and polished first 50 pages. For nonfiction, a book proposal and up to three polished sample chapters. For poetry, a complete full-length manuscript (48-100 pages).
We will pull back the curtain on the book publishing process, and make introductions to agents and other relevant publishing professionals.
The program is fully remote. Synchronous full-group events follow a monthly cadence, while a community platform offers a depth of resources for individual learning as well as asynchronous discussion. Each month’s theme is developed to meet the needs of members, bringing us deeper into our books.
The Changemaker Authors Cohort offers many different opportunities for support and community. Each writer discovers their own sustainable writing pace amid the collective momentum toward finishing their books. Apart from the mandatory monthly craft meetings and mid-year intensive writing retreat, authors are free to avail themselves of the program’s offerings in accordance with their own needs.
- 24/7 discussion forum with coaches
- 2x monthly Solve Your Story group coaching
- Access to curriculum vault
- 4x weekly co-writing sessions
- Custom writing prompts by request
- Bimonthly individual coaching
- Peer circle chat space
- Peer circle meetings
- Guest speakers
- Reading at the time of graduation
We are no longer accepting applications. Applicants will be notified of our decision by January 15, 2022.
To apply, you will need to create a Reviewr account at the hosted application. The application will ask you to confirm your eligibility, upload a résumé or curriculum vitae, upload a sample of the book you are working on, and share 1-3 links to your work. The substance of your application will be your answers to the following four questions, with a character count of 1,500 characters per answer (including spaces):
- Who are you?
- Please describe your book, including its working title and subject as well as how much work you have done on it so far. Your description should highlight what you think is noteworthy and distinctive about your book.
- What is the audience you are hoping to reach?
- How would participation in the Changemaker Authors Cohort benefit you and your book at this time? What are some of the obstacles you are facing that you hope this program can help you overcome?
We estimate this application will take 3-5 hours to complete.