This is the fourth year of our partnership with the prestigious Rathbones Folio Prize, through which four talented First Story students benefit from working one-to-one with an acclaimed writer from the Folio Academy.
Rathbones Folio Prize Mentorships are an incredibly valued progression route for First Story participants who complete our intensive Young Writers Programme. The scheme allows a small number of our alumni to pursue their creative writing ambitions, develop their craft and strengthen their voice, with one-to-one support from an established writer.
Every year, we are thrilled by the calibre of the mentors put forward by the Folio Academy—and 2020/21 is no exception. This year’s impressive cohort of mentors and their lucky mentees are:
Raymond Antrobus — winner of the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and The Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year, among other prizes, for his debut collection The Perseverance. Raymond will be mentoring Soumya Shrestha from Hampstead School in London.
Kathryn Maris — poetry editor of Mal and winner of the Ivan Juritz Prize for creative experiment for her most recent poetry collection, The House With Only An Attic And A Basement. Kathryn will be mentoring Priya Gill, a student at Landau Forte College in Derby.
Paul Farley — multi-award-winning poet and non-fiction writer, who has received numerous awards including The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, the Whitbread Poetry Award and the E.M. Forster Award, and chaired the judges of this year’s Rathbones Folio Prize. Paul will be mentoring Finley Parkinson from Longcroft School in Beverley in East Yorkshire.
Rachel Long — leader of the Octavia Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, and the author of the widely-acclaimed My Darling from the Lions, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Rachel will be mentoring Alice Impey, who attended Hull College.
Each pairing will work together, over the course of the academic year, to develop a project of the young writer’s choice. Corresponding regularly online, the mentors will provide personalised feedback and support. There will also be an opportunity for the mentees to perform their work publicly, with a special event next summer to celebrate the end of the course.
In the middle of a very busy academic year, being a part of the Rathbones Folio Prize mentorship programme is like having a secret life. It’s a wonderful way to step back and focus on creativity.Shakira Irfan, former Rathbones Folio mentee
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 Adam Foulds, AL Kennedy, Alice Jolly, Evie Wyld, Francesca Beard, Joe Dunthorne, Kamila Shamsie, Louise Doughty, Lucy Caldwell, Nikesh Shukla, Ross Raisin and Sharlene Teo. The project is made possible by sponsorship of Rathbone Investment Management and the generous funding from Arts Council England and Cockayne Foundation.