This is the fifth year of our partnership with the prestigious Rathbones Folio Prize, through which talented First Story students benefit from working one-to-one with an acclaimed writer from the Folio Academy. And, this year we are overjoyed to announce two additional places for aspiring young writers, with six students participating in the year-long programme!
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 2021/22 is no exception. This year’s impressive cohort of mentors and their lucky mentees are:
British-Ghanaian writer and photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of the acclaimed debut OPEN WATER, published earlier this year. Caleb will be mentoring Tegan from Longcroft School and Sixth Form College.
Mexican American, London-based writer Chloe Aridjis, author of three novels, Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in France, Asunder, set in London’s National Gallery, and Sea Monsters, which was awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Chloe with be mentoring Cheyenne from Hull College.
Poet Fiona Benson, author of, among other collections, Vertigo & Ghost, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and won both the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Fiona will be mentoring Emily, who recently enrolled at Cambridge University.
Stephanie Cross, a Sunday Times top 10 bestselling ghostwriter, freelance editor, and fiction reviewer. Stephanie will be mentoring Lauren from the Dukeries Academy.
Will Eaves, who is the author of five novels, including Murmur, and two collections of poems, previously Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and now teaches writing at the University of Warwick. Will will be mentoring Calum from John Leggett College.
Writer Will Harris whose poetry debut RENDANG (2020), published by Granta in the UK and Wesleyan University Press in the US, was a Poetry Book Society Choice, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Will will be mentoring Lauren from John Leggett 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 at the British Library 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.