The White Pube Writers Grant
funded by Creative Debuts
The White Pube Writers Grant is a one-off £500 grant to be given out to a different working class writer based in the UK once every month. This grant has been set up to support writers of all ages who are early in their careers and would benefit from this no-strings attached financial support to help them in whatever they like - be that money to cover time to write, books, web hosting, printing, subscriptions, research, development, travel, or even just money to fund life expenses and rent.
Some writers publish work on their own websites with little to no funding to encourage them; others pitch to established publications and, if they are lucky, might get paid every once in a while to write for somebody else. It is difficult to keep going and harder still to carve out the time to write, which is what writing needs, and so we hope this grant will help towards those challenges in some small way. A recipient will be chosen monthly, and this grant is open to individuals, collaborations and groups. The writing could be fiction or nonfiction, creative, criticism, whatever it is you’re working on.
The White Pube will be selecting recipients, and these will be chosen based on their ongoing research as well as anybody who would like to put themselves forward. There is no formal application process. If you would like to get in touch, please email email@example.com with a very brief introduction to yourself, contact information and of course, an example of your writing. This could be text in the body of the email itself, attached as a PDF, or a link to an external site or recording. There is no deadline as this is a monthly rolling grant, and the grant does not expect any outcomes or reporting. FAQS BELOW!
Creative Debuts is a disrupting and democratising art platform that champions emerging artists through an artwork subscription service, bespoke projects and event management. Acting as a bridge between the creative and commercial worlds, Creative Debuts is focussed on shining a light and supporting artists and designers from underrepresented communities that may otherwise go under the radar. The free online platform also provides artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their work, as well as giving buyers – whether individuals or businesses - the chance to unearth the superstars of tomorrow. Recent collaborations include the likes of adidas, Apple, Disney, eBay and Spotify.
The White Pube is the collaborative identity of Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente through which we write about exhibitions, video games, the art world and more on thewhitepube.com and across social media as @thewhitepube. We are based in London and Liverpool respectively + we are buzzing to get to do this so ty Creative Debuts.
October 2021: Recipient 014, Cilla Lafayette
We are excited to announce the 14th recipient of The White Pube Writers Grant is Cilla Lafayette. Cilla sent in a non-fiction piece about solidarity between people of colour and the white working class, as well as a short film titled ORDO I : X (1:10). The 6 minute film brings together a cast that discuss division amongst different identities. Lines like ‘propaganda assists us in the formation of our perception of one another’ are cut between found audio and music, while the actors move around and gesture to one another in high fashion, under high production. We loved the rhythm and the precision of the writing, the aesthetic and the politic of the whole thing. We hope this grant supports Cilla as she works towards a new video essay series.
Cilla Lafayette is from Ghana, but born in UK, London. She began her creative journey in Theatre as a Director and writer; she now identifies as an Interdisciplinary Storyteller, working in a non-binary way that incorporates music, dance, visual art, text in film and live performance work. Cilla says, ‘I’m in love with writing that provokes deep and critical thinking, encourages empathy and community; writing that feels lyrical and gives life.'
Links below if you want to read her work:
Watch: ORDO I : X (1:10)
September 2021: Recipient 013, Andy Grace Hayes
We’re entering the SECOND year of The White Pube Writers Grant if you can believe it. We are very pleased to announce that the 13th recipient is fellow art critic Andy Grace Hayes. Writing from Glasgow, his substack Another Gay Handout brings together exhibition reviews, book reviews, and essays on aesthetics and the climate. We haven’t been able to run around Scotland’s many different art scenes in a long, long time but reading Andy’s reviews felt like the light, piercing criticism and gossip that comes of visiting exhibitions with clever friends. We very much support that, and we’re subscribed to the mailing list so looking forward to reading more. We hope you enjoy it too!
Andy Grace Hayes is a Scottish writer living in Glasgow. He writes exhibition reviews and records video essays that engage with local work, queer art, terrible art, and mass media. Hayes writes to be confrontational and to flirt. He aims to create an archive of gossip, institutional criticism, and off-the-cuff diatribes.
Links below if you want to read his work, or follow Andy online:
August 2021: Recipient 012, Ibrahim Hirsi
We’re pleased to announce, the 12th recipient of the Writers Grant has been given to Ibrahim Hirsi. Ibrahim sent over a poem, written in reply to a poem by a previous Writers Grant recipient (Asmaa Jama)! We just really really enjoyed Ibrahim’s work; the language, rhythm, structure, and mood. We enjoyed the fact that his work sat within a wider lineage, and was looking to be in conversation, expansive. Beyond that networked-ness, Ibrahim’s work itself has got hold of a pace and rhythm, like a kind of staccato. And in that rhythm, there’s a flowering aesthetic that we couldn’t shake. We’re so glad we can support Ibrahim through this grant, and we hope you find a similar joy in his work too!
Ibrahim Hirsi is a student, writer and peer researcher for the Centre for Mental Health. A digital Somali cultural archivist and independent researcher, his work explores changes in Somali culture from colonialism till now. His work has appeared in PBLJ and he has worked as a consultant on Asmaa Jama’s interactive short film: ‘Before We Disappear’.
Links below if you want to read his work, or follow Ibrahim online:
July 2021: Recipient 011, Dora Maludi
We’re pleased to announce, the 11th recipient of the Writers Grant has been given to Dora Maludi. Dora sent over a collection of poems, and they stood out and grabbed us. Dora’s poems are like small concentrated squares full of infinite detail. She writes about writing; the writing process like vomiting. She describes scars like borders. She writes like she is speaking to someone over your shoulder. And she summons whole scenes out of sketches to create these acute and honest atmospheres. We’re so glad we can support Dora through this grant, and we hope you find a similar joy in her work too!
Dora Maludi is a fine artist and poet from London. Her practice is centred around exploring the relationship between form, language and landscape through the means of sound, video, text and movement. Anti poetry, surrealist poetry and Dada techniques inform her writing style, with the notion of rejecting traditional forms being a thorough line in her artistic endeavours. Alongside this, she is currently working on a soundscape series exploring the theme of endings and writing poems towards her first collection.
Links below if you want to read her work, listen to it, or follow Dora online:
June 2021: Recipient 010, Natalie Dunning
We’re so pleased to announce, the 10th recipient of the Writers Grant has been given to Natalie Dunning. This feels like a really special and emotional moment, not just because this is the 10th grant to go out(!), but because I feel such an affinity with Natalie’s writing. Her text ‘Why I sometimes like my chronic pain’ made me reflect on my relationship with long covid — something I am struggling with, but something that means I no longer sweat the small stuff precisely because of that struggle. Another text, ‘Hiking the uncanny valleys of Red Dead Redemption 2,’ made me fall in love all over again with the vast experiences we can have in video game spaces; and how vital and wonderful access to adventure can feel in a sick body. She writes through these subjects with such clarity - her tone is raw and optimistic, and basically I have been thinking about her texts ever since she sent them our way. We’re so glad we can support Natalie through this grant, and we hope you find a similar joy in her work too.
Natalie Dunning is a writer and designer from Manchester. Art school led her to work in bars, schools and temp agencies. A health scare led her to write about the things that she cares about; health, food and culture. Her recent work has focused on alternative perspectives of chronic pain, gaming and pain management. She is currently writing about the joys of chicken splits, dystopian wellness cafes and cooking with fire.
Links below if you want to read her work, listen to it, or follow Natalie online:
Find Natalie’s website here
April 2021: Recipient 008, Orna Kazimi
Time flies, we’re now on the 8th recipient of the Writers Grant, and we are so happy to announce it has been given to Orna Kazimi. Orna sent us a short publication, called Catfish (which you can read below). We haven’t had the chance to support many Artists (with a capital A), but we were really excited by Orna’s approach to writing as a component in a wider visual practice, and we identified with it too. Catfish is sensitive and lucid. We love the way it presents complexity, memory, the spatial weirdness of navigating embodied states, its nuance and subtlety. We’re so glad to be able to support Orna & her work, and we hope you’ll see the tenderness that we saw.
Orna Kazimi is an afghan artist based in London. Orna’s work and research explore personal encounters of migration in relation to collective memories of displacement through drawings, installation and writing. Her works have been shown at sight and sound workshop at Tate Exchange- Tate Modern- London 2018, overprint at Centre de la Gravure et de l’image imprimée museum-Belgium 2018, Art Amongst War: Visual Culture in Afghanistan-TCNJ Art Gallery- New Jersey 2014, 4th Afghan Contemporary Art Prize Exhibition- Queen’s Palace- Afghanistan 2013. She was awarded the Caspian Arts Foundation Scholarship (2016) and studied at Central Saint Martins in London (2018).
Links below if you want to read her work, listen to it, or follow Orna online:
May 2021: Recipient 009, Natalie Tan
We are thrilled to announce that the 9th grant has been given to Natalie Tan. Natalie has a bi-weekly newsletter called Simmer Down that reflects on food and memory. After we started our own /food page on The White Pube last year, we've been hoping to be able to support somebody else's writing around the subject. When Natalie’s work came along, we were won over by the sensitivity, descriptions, atmosphere and how personable the writing felt. It’s political, historical, and just very enjoyable to read.
Natalie Tan is a cultural practitioner and writer based in London. Expressed with an unbridled passion influenced by the forever-classic emo tracks of the 2000s, she examines maladaptive wistfulness, traditions formed from migration, and the impact of colonialism on Hong Kong and its diaspora. She is the author of Simmer Down, an ongoing, bi-weekly reflection on food and memory, and is currently writing her first play on family, loss, and Hong Kong as part of Bush Theatre’s West London Playwrights’ Group. Her work has been included in diaCRITICS, Radio Slumber, and the Breakfast B Reading Series.
Links below if you want to read her work, listen to it, or follow Natalie online:
March 2021: Recipient 007, Cameron Hill
We’re onto the 7th recipient of the Writers Grant and we are so happy to announce it has been given to Cameron Hill. I was already aware of Cameron’s writing because of his game review of Dear Esther that was published in Heterotopias last year. I hadn’t seen anyone handle writing around a game in that way before - so careful, visual, paced and layered. Just starting to write about games myself, I felt very inspired and excited by his approach. It’s great to now be able to pay that forward & we thank Creative Debuts for funding the grant and allowing us to support working class writers in this way.
Cameron Hill is a writer from the North East of England. Having recently finished a research Masters on the woodland-based poetry of John Clare and other nineteenth-century working class writers, he now writes on environmental and societal issues through popular culture, with a focus on film. Alongside this, he is currently working on a non-linear text-based game, as well as a collaborative photo-essay book about the River Esk, with friend and photographer George Hutton. His work is shaped by growing up between woodland, sea and industrial decay, and this performance by FKA Twigs.
Links below if you want to read his work, listen to it, or follow Cameron online:
And you can listen to Cameron reading Dear Esther below & on our Soundcloud
Cameron has just set up a Substack for ‘essays on the climate, the cinema and us’ which goes out every 2 weeks. You can subscribe [here].
You can find Cameron on Twitter here @Cam__Hill
February 2021: Recipient 006, Asmaa Jama
We are very excited to announce the sixth recipient: Asmaa Jama. Asmaa sent us a selection of their poems, and we just fell in love. Their work contains the rumbling thrill of fitting together the knot of words, the puzzle of spaces, breaks, alternative endings, no pauses, all flow. We think it is the kind of writing we enjoy because it feels like the poet enjoyed writing it too; we’d like to think this is true, that it has an aura when you’re in its proximity. We hope you feel that enjoyment too.
Bio: Asmaa Jama is a danish born Somali artist and poet. They work in the liminal spaces between languages and think a lot about ghosts, spirits, saar and other hauntings. They've been published in places like - The Good Journal, ANMLY, Ambit. Most recently, they've been commissioned by BBC New Creatives to make 'Before We Disappear' an interactive experience on invisibility.
Links below if you want to read their work, listen to it, or follow them online:
—Read [For Ahmeds]
—Read [The ramadan awoowe returned]
—Read [Consider my father as a child]
—Read [aan ku soo laabano awoowgay]
—You can listen to Asma reading their poems below, or on our Soundcloud
January 2021: Recipient 005, Muksood Shaikh
We are very excited to announce the fifth recipient: Muksood Shaikh. Muksood sent us a chapter extract from a longer work, and we were honestly blown away by it. His writing is extensive and sprawling, looking searchingly at racism, corruption, local party politics, and individuals in search of power. The work he sent over is auto-biographical; but it’s also this fluid, challenging, pace-y thing. It pulls away from more comforting narratives about marginalised sections of society, towards an honest dark realism, written with an astonishingly lyrical but unsentimental prose. We’re big fans.
Bio: Muksood Shaikh is 66; born in India, he has lived in Tower Hamlets since the age of 7. Growing up in East London in the 60s, he faced racism and violence, leaving school without the ability to read or write. He went back into education at 34, and began working as a youth and community worker in Tower Hamlets, soon establishing youth projects that received national acclaim. Since then, he’s been writing continuously; about his life and experience, friends and people that he meets and events throughout.
Links below if you want to read his work:
—Read Rahim's Story
November 2020: Recipient 004, Amelia Lane
We are very excited to announce the fourth recipient: Amelia Lane. Amelia sent over two samplers and a short story. As writers ourselves, it often can be hard to settle into other people's writing styles and rhythms. But Amelia’s way of writing, in this whimsical fictional space, with so much lightness and weirdness, is what we both love and enjoy ourselves - as readers and writers each. It’s so whole, decorated, strange, light, weird, exact; a pleasure to read, and we’re glad to be able to support her work in this way.
Bio: Amelia Lane has been a bookworm all her life, and she has always had the urge to tell stories. She is inspired often by her surroundings; the strangeness of small towns, the bleakness of the English seaside, hot summers. Since graduating from the University of Kent with an Art History degree (2:1) Amelia lives at home in Medway with her family. She is currently working on completing her first novel.
Links below if you want to read her work, listen to it, or follow her online:
—Read I Don’t Like Dogs
—Read A Card Game for Monkeys
—You can listen to I Don’t Like Dogs by Amelia below, or on our Soundcloud
November 2020: Recipient 003, Keziah Hodgson
We are very excited to announce the third recipient Keziah Hodgson. Keziah sent over a monologue alongside some videos of performances and we honestly just felt so entertained by them and by the writing within them - tight knots of words and rhymes, big characters, pieces that felt whole.
Bio: Keziah Hodgson is a multi-disciplinary writer & performer originally hailing from Merseyside. Graduating from BIMM London with a 1st Class Honours in Creative Musicianship in 2017, she went on to become a successful applicant of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective (17’-18’). Here, she devised her first one-woman show ‘Ausual & Other Illusories’ which saw its debut at Toxteth TV in Liverpool before being programmed for the ‘Last Word Festival’ at The Roundhouse in 2018. She seeks to be a conduit for connection by creating subversive and truthful work with a particular focus on sexuality, the Femxle experience, injustice, intersectionality, intimacy & loss.
Links below if you want to read her work, listen to it, or follow her online:
—Read My Therapist
—Listen to both of these performed on this mini Soundcloud podcast we made
October 2020: Recipient 002, David Ishaya Osu
We are very excited to announce the second recipient David Ishaya Osu. David sent over a selection of his poems, and we both loved the care, shape and feeling of the words he put together, the way they feel like they rub up against each other.
Bio: David Ishaya Osu is a poet, memoirist, street photographer and wanderer. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies across Nigeria, Uganda, the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, India, France, Bangladesh, South Africa, Austria, and elsewhere. He is the poetry editor of Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, and a board member of Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation based in Uganda. David has an MA in Creative Writing (with distinction) from the University of Kent, and is the author of the poetry chapbook, When I’m Eighteen (2020). His life revolves around poetry, photography, architecture, wanderlust, jazz and other ordinary things.
Links below if you want to read his work, listen to it, or follow him online:
—Read Parts of my body
—Read Nine muses
—You can listen to the poems read by David below, or on our Soundcloud
September 2020: Recipient 001, Ruskin Smith
We are very excited to announce the first recipient Ruskin Smith. He sent over an email with 2 examples of his work and they were both short stories we fell in love with. I want to read a whole book of his work - I want to spend more time in the worlds and with the lives he describes so carefully.
Bio: Ruskin Smith is from Hull but lives in Lancaster now, with his partner and their two young daughters. He has done lots of different jobs over the years—including admin, factory, retail, labouring—between spells of incapacity for work with mental health problems. He started writing consistently around the age of forty. He has had fiction published in thi wurd and on the common breath community blog. Despite not having a degree he was offered a place on the Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, and graduated with Distinction in 2018. He was long-listed for the Fish Short Memoir Prize 2020.
Links below if you want to read his work, listen to it, or follow him online:
What is your definition of working class?
We are very keen to make sure this grant goes to people who need it most. We expect people to only put themselves forward if they are coming from a lower socio-economic background than the successful writers we see in culture in general. We may contact a potential recipient with some questions relating to: the type of school you might have attended, the highest level of qualification achieved by parents/guardians by the time you were 18, the type of work the highest income earner of your household did when you were a teenager, and your eligibility for free school meals. These questions are based on a resource published by the Civil Service as recommended measures for employers and which we think will help us in this process. We are putting a lot of faith in the people getting in touch with us and we hope you all respect the remit here. We want to help champion a more diverse writing scene, so please refrain from applying if you know you do not need this money.
What type of writing are you looking to award grants to?
Anything. Could be a good old normal-looking text, but also we are open to poems, scripts, comics, zines, lyrics; fiction, non-fiction, whatever you do that is like… words. Published or not, professional or amateur, whatevs - it’s all good.
What length of writing can I put forward?
Any length is fine but please bear in mind that we are selecting the recipient alongside our usual workload (we work 2 jobs each), and have a fair few applications to get through. In this case, if the text is very long, please also include a synopsis if you have one.
What contact information do I need to provide?
If you do not check your email regularly, please provide a phone number as well. We would try to contact recipients via email at first but if they do not reply, we would then reach out by phone. This is because we will be announcing a recipient every month and as we have a deadline, we would have to postpone a grant and award that month to somebody else if there is no response.
Will you offer feedback?
No, we wish we could, but we are doing this on top of our usual workload and it will be a lot of work already just to read through all of the applications that come in. Hopefully we are better set up one day soon so that we can engage in a proper dialogue with everyone who does want to have a chat over email, but for now, we are very sorry that we have to say no. We wish it were otherwise.
Can I email multiple times?
Yes, if you’re emailing again to send more writing you’d like to submit for consideration, we’d appreciate it if you sent it in reply to your first email (so we can keep track of them both together in the thread). It’s a rolling grant, so it’s not necessary to re-apply if you haven’t heard back from us immediately.
Will I hear back from you after emailing?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide a reply beyond the automated receipt email - we are just not set up to be able to write personalised replies to all of the applications that come in, sorry. If you have any questions, please check these FAQs in full before contacting us.
If I don’t hear back beyond the automated reply, does that mean my application wasn’t successful?
This is a grant that will be awarded to a different applicant every month, and we are planning on keeping a record of all emails and contact information that come into firstname.lastname@example.org. A lack of response on our part does not indicate a permanent rejection because we will be referring to the same growing record, as well as our own research, in order to select recipients for the grant as we go forward.
Can I email on behalf of somebody else?
As long as you have their express permission to do so, this is fine, especially as we know that finding the time to email over your work can be difficult, especially in the current economic climate; and also some people might need personal assistant support for various reasons, so just as long as you’ve got their permission, go for it.
Can I be paid in instalments?
Yes, you can be paid in instalments. We offer this option incase a lump sum would effect Universal Credit payments, etc.
Who actually are you?
Gooooood question. So we are 2 rowdy 26 year olds called Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente, from and based in London and Liverpool respectively. We started this website together in our final year of art school because we were bored of the way art was written about (and pissed at who got to do that writing). Ever since then, we've been publishing exhibition reviews, baby essays, and more recently game reviews and a few texts about food as well. We try to push for a more inclusive creative industry/world and care about that a lot, and we're really excited to be able to select and guide this working class writers grant. We hope it can help lots of people out.