Welcome to Free Word. Interested in exploring the political and cultural power of words? Join us at an upcoming event or read about the themes we explore.


Free Word’s network of associates includes individuals, groups and organisations working across literature, culture, politics, free expression, and the arts.​

​We are currently updating our Associates’ membership scheme. Please check back regularly for more information.


26 is here to raise the profile and value of words in business and in everyday life. Our members include writers of all kinds: business writers, poets, novelists, copywriters, screenwriters, anyone with a love of words.

Our projects include 26 Exchanges with PEN International, From Here to Here with London Underground, 26 Treasures with the V&A, The Bard & Co with Shakespeare’s Globe, Common Ground funded by the Arts Council, and Wordstock – a festival of words held each year at Free Word Centre.

The Alliance of Independent Authors

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is a non-profit, professional association for indie writers. Our global team of advisors and industry professionals encourage ethics and excellence in self-publishing. We advocate and campaign for indie authors, forging relationships with industry figures to bring about the democratisation of publishing through community, partnership and author empowerment. 



BookTrust is the UK’s leading reading charity.

They know that children who feel confident and positive about reading have much better chances in life; they do better at school, have wider vocabularies, are more imaginative and enjoy increased wellbeing and empathy.

BookTrust reach every child in the country at key points in their development. As part of their work, they gift over 5 million carefully chosen books and resources to children throughout the UK. They work with publishers, local authorities, health visitors, children’s centres, schools and libraries to ensure that children and families have access to inspiring books, understand the importance of reading, and are helped to make shared reading part of family life.

Their programmes include Bookstart for babies and toddlers, Time to Read for children as they start primary school, and the School Library Pack and Bookbuzz for secondary school children. They also do more for those who need more support; Letterbox Club gives children in care extra books and opportunities, and provides stimulating books for children with additional needs.

BookTrust is also home to a portfolio of arts projects and prizes, including the Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate, BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award and Children’s Book Week.

They like to say that a book is not a book – it’s a doorway.

The British Centre for Literary Translation

The British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) is Britain’s leading centre for the development, promotion and support of literary translation.

Working closely with regional, national and international partners (including the Translators Association and English PEN), BCLT offers support and continuing professional development to literary translators at all stages of their career; provides information and advice; stimulates public awareness and interest in literary translation; develops new audiences through events and publications; and generates and encourages academic debate.

Founded in 1989 by the late W. G. ‘Max’ Sebald, BCLT is based at the University of East Anglia and supported by Arts Council England.

Commonwealth Writers

Commonwealth Writers is the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation. It was set up in 2012 to inspire and connect writers and storytellers across the world. They believe that well-told stories can help people make sense of events, to engage with others and to take action to bring about social change. Responsive and proactive, Commonwealth Writers is committed to tackling the challenges faced by writers in different regions. They work with local and international partners to identify and deliver projects. Their activities take place in Commonwealth countries, but their community is global.


Culture+Conflict is an ambitious new venture – independent, interdisciplinary, international and intercultural – to explore and amplify the distinctive role of culture in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
The aim is to support artists, writers and cultural practitioners working in these contexts by promoting and amplifying their work to international audiences, including policy-makers, politicians and diplomats. They act as a broker to connect people and build networks, and run a programme that includes events, research, workshops and projects.

The Curved House

Described by The Bookseller as “the ultimate hybrid company”, The Curved House is both a publisher and a production house, working across print and digital. Our core business is to design and produce books, websites and videos for publishers, literary organisations and individual authors but we also publish our own books that focus on improving literacy and reversing the decline in reading for pleasure.

The Curved House is a multi-faceted business but every aspect of our work is driven by a commitment to the same four things:

Good design: we believe poor design, particularly of books and text, diminishes our experience of reading and contributes to lower levels of reading for pleasure. We champion good design all the way.

Empowering authors: This increasingly complex world presents many new opportunities for writers online, but it can also be intimidating. We run regular trainings with partners like The Literary Consultancy (TLC) and the Society of Authors to ensure writers reach their digital potential.

Collaboration: Visual Verse, our non-profit anthology of art and words, is a homage to the power of democratic collaboration and is open to writers at all stages. We welcome your words.

Improving literacy levels: More needs to be done to improve literacy levels and encourage children to read for pleasure. Our children’s book imprint, Curved House Kids, publishes books that children can either write or illustrate themselves, allowing them to use their own ingenuity to develop core reading skills and improve their visual literacy.

flipped eye publishing

flipped eye publishing limited publishes original poetry and prose on a not-for-profit model, an approach that has allowed them to focus on developing new writers – particularly writers from under-represented backgrounds – thus facilitating the emergence of truly unique literary talent.

Founded in 2001, flipped eye has won multiple awards from the Poetry Book Society, including Communion (2006, Jacob Sam-La Rose), White Narcissi (2007, Denise Saul) and Inklings (2013, Sarah Westcott); featured in independent and mainstream media globally; and was shortlisted for an IPG Award in 2007. flipped eye authors such as Inua Ellams, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Warsan Shire and Nii Ayikwei Parkes have gone on to gain international recognition. flipped eye publishing is the sponsor of the annual Venture Award for poetry.

Give a Book

Give a Book is a UK based charity (charity no 1149664) that gives books to a range of people where they will be of particular benefit. Their core belief is that to pass on a good read – to give someone a book – is a transaction of worth. New books are distributed to partner charities and groups, including Magic Breakfast, where they provide books for breakfast book clubs, First Story who put writers into challenging schools, Prison Reading Groups and Reading Ahead, Doorstep Library, Books in the Nick and Maggie’s Centres, as well as various schools and other literacy projects where pupils frequently have never had a book in their life.

Index on Censorship

Index on Censorship is an international organisation that promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression. The inspiration of poet Stephen Spender, Index was founded in 1972 to publish the untold stories of dissidents behind the Iron Curtain. Today, we fight for free speech around the world, challenging censorship whenever and wherever it occurs.

Index uses a unique combination of journalism, campaigning and advocacy to defend freedom of expression for those facing censorship and repression, including journalists, writers, social media users, bloggers, artists, politicians, scientists, academics, activists and citizens.

Index believes that free expression is the foundation of a free society and endorses Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”.



Inpress is the UK’s specialist in selling books produced by independent publishers. We support innovative, literary publishers across the UK and Ireland, delivering their fiction, poetry and non-fiction to book-lovers worldwide. Inpress brings beautiful, painstakingly-created, innovative and outside-of-the-mainstream books together in one place, selling to the book trade and direct to customers through www.inpressbooks.co.uk. We currently work in partnership with over 40 publishers, providing sales and distribution alongside complementary publisher services such as social media marketing, professional development and events.

Living Space Project

Living Space Project is about creating vibrant neighbourhoods and strong communities through green space and urban placemaking.

We specialise in green neighbourhood projects, research, and strategy that have a positive impact on the lives of communities and individuals.

We work with communities, local authorities, charities, government, architects, designers and businesses. They look to Living Space Project for our proven track record of using collaborative cross sector and community development approaches to rejuvenate diverse neighbourhoods.

Living Space Project builds everything it does around our belief that ‘Everyone has the right to live in a safe, healthy environment and a great place to live.’

Our purpose is to help communities create urban neighbourhoods with healthy environments, green spaces and public places and vibrant economies for all.

Manifesto Club

Manifesto Club campaigns against the hyperregulation of everyday life. They support free movement across borders, free expression and free association. They challenge booze bans, photo bans, vetting and speech codes – all new ways in which the state regulates everyday life on the streets, in workplaces and in people’s private lives. They believe that the freedom issues of the twenty-first century cut across old political boundaries, and require new schools of political thought, and new methods of campaigning and organisation. Their rapidly growing membership hails from all political traditions and none, and from all corners of the world.


Maslaha aims to change and challenge the conditions that create inequalities for Muslim communities. They combine creativity with practical work and strategic thinking to tackle social issues in areas such as health, education and the criminal justice system.

They recognise that social issues sit within an ecology of interconnected factors, and therefore their work influences different levels: practice, policy and public imagination. Their work ranges from health interventions, to working with ex-offenders, to addressing gender inequality, to exhibitions that have toured 35 cities in 11 countries across Europe. Their work is rooted in locality but is used nationally and internationally.

In 2012, Maslaha was named one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals by NESTA and the Observer newspaper, an initiative to find examples of inspirational social pioneers. In 2014, Maslaha’s work in mental health was announced overall winner of the global Innovation Mindset Challenge, a competition run by Project Innovation in New York and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and Columbia University.


PARS is an arts and sciences organisation led by art historian Hester Aardse and poet Astrid Alben. They invite artists and scientists to share their most revealing, beautiful, funny and mind-boggling research with them around particular topics. PARS publishes these in a publication series, such as Findings on Ice (2007), Findings on Elasticity (2010) and Findings on Light (2016). PARS also curates events, which are a mixture of art, theatre and scientific experiments, at different locations. Their aim is to stimulate curiosity and to celebrate beauty in knowledge.


RAW in WAR aims to support women human rights defenders working in countries in war and conflict, and to help end abuse and persecution against them, as well as to strengthen their work in areas of conflict.

Founded in 2006 by Mariana Katzarova, RAW awards the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award, given to a woman human rights defender who stands up for the victims of conflict. They also grant the Natalia Estemirova Memorial Scholarship for a woman from an area torn by conflict to study human rights journalism in London.

Readers International

Founded in 1984 and active in the UK since 1986, Readers International (RI) made its name by publishing works and authors that suffered political censorship or exile in their home country. Thus, in the closing years of the Cold War, of apartheid, and of military terror in Latin America’s Southern Cone, RI successfully brought international acclaim for the first time to major writers like Chilean Antonio Skármeta, Argentinian Marta Traba and the Czech writers Ivan Klima and Ludvik Vaculik. With Dorothy Connell still at the helm, RI has achieved twenty-five years of successful small press publishing in support of the free word.

Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders – known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF) – is a non-profit organisation working to defend freedom of information and press freedom around the world. Working for more than 30 years, RSF alternates public interventions and effective behind-the-scenes actions. RSF works globally through its wide network of correspondents in 130 countries, and 12 offices, including its London bureau, in addition to its Paris headquarters, and its consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe.

Sara Whyatt Consultancy

Sara Whyatt Consultancy provides professional services in global human rights advocacy, research, monitoring and reporting, with a focus on freedom of expression. Formerly head of PEN International’s freedom of expression program for many years, Sara Whyatt has in-depth experience in international casework and campaign strategies. She is connected to a wide global network of experts, organisations and funders on the leading edge of advancing the cause of human rights worldwide.

Selina Nwulu

Selina Nwulu is a writer and poet. Her work is an exploration of both the personal and political which she weaves with themes of identity, daily observation, nostalgia, and belonging.

Her first chapbook collection, The Secrets I Let Slip, was published by Burning Eye Books in September 2015 and is a Poetry Book Society (PBS) recommendation. As well as writing for a number of online outlets such as the Guardian and Red Pepper, her poetry has also been published by The Emma Press, Lunar Poetry, Free Word and the RSA.

She is currently Young Poet Laureate for London 2015-6, a prestigious award that recognises talent and potential in the capital. So far during her tenure she has read at Cúirt Literature Festival, Galway, and StAnza poetry festival, St Andrews, in which she was labelled as, ‘an emerging writer to watch’. She has read at both the House of Commons and the Lords. She has also been commissioned by Apples and Snakes, the RSA, A New Direction and Free Word.

She has previously performed at a number of festivals including Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe and Fiery Tongues Festival in Ruigoord, Holland. She has also previously toured nationally with Apples and Snakes, representing London as part of the ‘Public Address II tour’ as well as performing internationally at an EU Environmental Human Rights Conference in Budapest.

Skin Deep

Skin Deep is a multimedia platform that seeks to address the way in which culture is simultaneously racialised and depoliticised in the mainstream, through content that amplifies voices of colour. We wish to empower artists, writers, activists and academics, cultivating a space where different experiences of race can be shared, retold and examined. Skin Deep is also the name of our online magazine and biannual print publication. The theme for our upcoming print publication, scheduled to come out July 2016, is IMAGINING 2043. We are currently expanding our project to include live events, podcasts and videos.

Spread the Word

Spread the Word provides support for writers of all levels – from networking events to publisher and agent talks, advice surgeries, mentoring and an online city of shared stories. They connect writers with the wider literature scene and offer a sustained relationship to talented writers for the development of their careers.

Writers' Centre Norwich

Writers’ Centre Norwich is a literature development agency based in Norwich. They are interested in both the artistic and social impact of creative writing, and work with writers, readers and diverse communities. They run a wide range of ongoing and one-off projects and events including the Worlds Literature Festival, a week of events, readings and discussion featuring writers from around the world; the Escalator Literature Competition; creative writing workshops; Summer Reads; the City of Refuge programme and Refugee Week.

Writing West Midlands

Writing West Midlands is the literature development agency for the West Midlands region of England. We support creative writers and creative writing in a range of ways.

We work with aspiring, emerging and established writers to help them sustain their creative careers by offering training sessions, advice and networking opportunities, including through our unique Room 204 Writer Development Programme.

We work with young writers and schools through our Write On! programme, giving children and young people the opportunity to develop their interests in creative writing. This includes working with writers in schools to bring professional writers into classrooms, our out-of-school Young Writers’ Groups network (the largest in the UK), and our online project, Write On! magazine.

Our festivals and events programme builds audiences for literature, including work by writers in our region. This includes the Birmingham Literature Festival, and also works with a network of literature and spoken word festivals across the region.

We run a programme of workshops, both as part of the Birmingham Literature Festival and across the year. These are for aspiring, emerging and established writers and some are run in partnership with the National Association for Writers in Education (NAWE).

We also work to make the West Midlands an attractive region in which to be involved in creative writing and literature. This includes supporting a network of independent publishers, working with universities that teach creative writing, and brokering new opportunities for writers.

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