We’re delighted to announce the four First Story programme graduates from our 2018-19 cohort chosen to participate in the third year of the Rathbones Folio Mentorships programme.
The Folio Mentorships programme is an invaluable opportunity for four of our talented young writers to be paired with four members of the Folio Academy. As accomplished professionals, the mentors will provide their mentees with writing guidance and support throughout the 2019-20 academic year, meeting face-to-face and corresponding online.
The scheme is an incredible progression route for First Story graduates who are serious about pursuing their writing practice. Each of the mentees will develop a portfolio of work, supported by a creative writing master providing personalised feedback.
From the outset, our ambition was that this should be more than ‘just a prize’, with the unique resource of the Folio Academy being ideally placed to engage the public in exploring the power and potential of writing to transform lives.Andrew Kidd and Kate Harvey, co-founders of The Folio Prize
In a competitive process this summer, First Story received more applications than ever before. We’re really pleased that the four winning students represent each of First Story’s operating regions: London in the South, Nottingham in the East Midlands, and Scunthorpe in the North.
Our 2019-20 Rathbones Folio mentees are:
- Weronika Baranowska from John Leggott College in Scunthorpe, where First Story’s 2018-19 Writer-in-Residence was Joe Hakim. Weronika will be mentored by Nikesh Shukla whose award-winning books include the critically-acclaimed essay collection, The Good Immigrant.
- Mariamah Davey also from John Leggott College, who will be mentored by Sharlene Teo whose debut novel, Ponti has been nominated for multiple awards.
- Nidaa Raoof from Nottingham Academy’s Greenwood Road site, where First Story’s 2018-19 Writers-in-Residence were Jim Hall and Ioney Smallhorne. Nidaa’s mentor is the award-winning Northern Irish playwright and novelist Lucy Caldwell.
- Aziza Adam from Wembley High Technology College in London, where our 2018-19 Writer-in-Residence was Stephanie Cross. Aziza will be mentored by novelist and playwright Alice Jolly author of Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, which is shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019.
Mentees and their mentors came together for a first meeting at the end of September, and work to develop their writing projects is now underway. The programme culminates with a showcase event at the British Library in March 2020, which is open to the public and free to attend.
The Folio Academy is a group of more than 300 outstanding writers and critics. Each year the Academy selects four of its members to become mentees to First Story graduates. Previous mentors include AL Kennedy, Kamila Shamsie, Ross Raisin, Evie Wyld, Francesca Beard, Joe Dunthorne, Louise Doughty and Adam Foulds. This is the third year that First Story students will benefit from this life-changing project, made possible by Rathbones’ sponsorship, with funding from the Arts Council England and Cockayne Foundation.
Applications for next year’s mentoring programme will open in May 2020. Any student who has completed First Story’s Writer-in-Residence programme, and who will be in Years 12 or 13 from September 2020, is eligible to apply. Keep an eye on our website, or sign-up for our Graduates newsletter, for updates.