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 15 July our 2022/23 cohort gathered at the historic 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 2022/23 pairings
Juno, a student at Cranford Community College in west London, was mentored by London-based poet and editor Emily Berry who is the author of three books of poems all published by Faber & Faber.
Frankie, who was a student at Chelsea Academy when he took part in our Young Writers Programme and is currently backpacking around Germany, couldn’t attend the showcase. His mentor, Sam Byers, read a new piece that Frankie had written on his behalf. Sam’s work has been shortlisted for many Prizes including the Costa First Novel Prize, the RSL Ondaatje Prize, and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
Lily from The Dukeries Academy in Nottingham was mentored by Diana Evans a British author of Nigerian and English descent, who has written three critically acclaimed novels including Ordinary People, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the Rathbones Folio Prize.
Sadiqah from George Green’s School in east London was mentored by Frances Leviston a poet, critic and short story writer. Her first collection of poetry, Public Dream (2007), was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize; her second collection, Disinformation (2015), was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize.
Qudsia, who was at Holland Park School when she took part in the Young Writers Programme, was mentored by Chris Power whose debut story collection, Mothers (2018), was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize.
Diana, from Leeds Sixth Form College (previously at Co-op Academy Grange in Bradford), was mentored by Momtaza Mehri a Prize-winning poet and essayist and former Young People’s Laureate for London.
Read more about our partnership with Folio here. Photos by Huxley Andrews, Tanya Andrews and Annette Brook.