The Rathbones Folio Prize Mentorships scheme gives talented First Story alumni the opportunity to be mentored for one year by experienced, acclaimed writers from the Folio Academy.
On a hot summer evening in July, our 2021/22 cohort gathered at the iconic London Library to read new work they have produced through the scheme, and celebrate their achievement alongside their mentors, family and friends.
About the scheme
The mentorships scheme launched in 2017, as a high quality progression route exclusively for First Story participants who complete our intensive Young Writers Programme. Our partnership with Folio is an opportunity for talented young writers to pursue their creative writing ambitions, develop their craft and strengthen their voice, with one-to-one support from an established writer.
Over the course of an academic year, each pairing corresponds regularly and mentees benefit from personalised feedback and support, meeting online and in-person. At the end of a year working together, the showcase event provides an opportunity for participants to perform their work publicly. Mentees are also gifted book bundles, containing titles specially selected by their mentors, plus a free Arvon Masterclass to further develop their writing craft.
Our 2021/22 pairings
Lauren, a student at Dukeries Academy in Nottingham, was mentored by Stephanie Cross, a Sunday Times top 10 bestselling ghost writer, freelance editor and fiction reviewer.
Emily, who was a student at Dukeries Academy in Nottingham when she took part in our Young Writers Programme, had embarked on her first year reading English at the University of Cambridge during the Folio scheme. Emily was mentored by poet Fiona Benson, whose Vertigo & Ghost was shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and won both the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection.
Tegan from Longcroft School and Sixth Form College in Beverley, East Yorkshire, was mentored by British-Ghanaian writer and photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of the acclaimed debut OPEN WATER, published in 2021.
Cheyenne from Hull College was mentored by 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.
Calum, from John Leggott College in Scunthorpe, was mentored by Will Eaves, the author of five novels, including Murmur, and two collections of poems. Will was previously Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and now teaches writing at the University of Warwick.
Lauren, also from John Leggott College, was mentored by 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.
The last word goes to our partners at Folio, who told the audience at the showcase: “Lauren Betts, Tegan Blake-Barnard, Emily Freeman, Lauren Harrison, Cheyenne Taylor-Guest and Calum Wood are all names to watch!”