A bestselling north-east author has joined forces with her former university to launch a package of measures to support fledgling writers.

The University of Sunderland will launch The Glenda Young Prize for Creative Writing this September.

The scholarship of £2,000 includes expert support from the popular author on how to break into the world of publishing.

The award is for new students joining the University of Sunderland in September 2023.

The scholarship is now open for applications HERE. Applicants must be from the Sunderland area, and the first from their family to study at university.

Glenda is the author of eight historical sagas set in Ryhope, the first of which, Belle of the Back Streets, was published in 2018, and the most recent, The Sixpenny Orphan, published in paperback this year.

She is also the author of three ‘cosy crime’ thrillers set in Scarborough, which were shortlisted at the Dead Good Readers Awards, alongside Val McDermid and Richard Osmond, at the 2022 Harrogate Crime Festival.

As well as being keen to offer support and insight into becoming a published author, Glenda also wants to support those thinking about university, who perhaps have not yet decided that it is the right path for them.

“I was the first and only member of my family – so far – to go to university,” says Glenda, “I want to give someone else that chance.

“Perhaps they think university is not for them, but they are someone who loves writing, and is really passionate about words.

“I hope this creative writing award might help make them see that yes, they can do this.”

Glenda went to university in her mid-thirties to study journalism. It was, she admits, because there was an element of creative writing as part of the course.

“I now realise that the structure and discipline of the journalism degree has really helped me as a writer,” she says.

Glenda’s path to becoming a full-time writer came about because in the second year of her degree she needed a placement.

At the time she was running a Coronation Street fan website, and she asked via the site if anyone could help.

“ITV got in touch, and that changed everything,” says Glenda. “I went on to write many official TV tie-in books for the show.

“It was while I was writing these that I realised that I wanted to create my own fiction, with my own strong women.

“I started writing short fiction for women’s magazine, which led to the world’s longest-running women’s magazine, The People’s Friend, asking me to write their first ever soap opera, Riverside. I love writing it still, and it’s now an audio drama featuring ex-soap stars.”

Now, with a series of hit historical sagas under her belt Glenda is ready to share her experiences with other fledgling writers.

“If I hadn’t studied for my degree at Sunderland I wouldn’t be where I am now. I really do want to give something back.

“While the money might not be enough to change someone’s life, it might just help someone, inspire them to say, ‘Yes, university might be for me’.

“I hope it make the difference for someone who wants to follow their dreams.”

Glenda is also offering advice with contacts and support which, she says, “Is just as important as money when getting your work published. If I can help someone get published or find an agent I will.”

She added: “I left school when I was 15, and if someone had said to me that I could do something I love for a living, that would have made an enormous difference.

“I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl, and I hope that if there’s someone out there that I can help with that same passion and that desire to express themselves through words, then it’s all worth it.

“University of Sunderland changed my life for the better. I didn’t think university was for me. What I learned from Sunderland gave me confidence to say “yes”.

“You’ve to make the most of every opportunity. Don’t hesitate at all, it’s all there for the taking.”

The University of Sunderland Open Day takes place this Saturday (10 June) from 10am-3.30pm, where you can find out more about undergraduate and postgraduate courses available at Sunderland. Go to: https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/open-days/