This year’s group of Mentees have been mentored by poet Patience Agababi, novelist Nikita Lalwani and Playwright Amy Rosenthal. The group are currently working on an collective anthology, to be released this Summer. Read more about each of this year’s writers below.
Mentor – Nikita Lalwani
Nikita Lalwani is the author of two novels, The Village and Gifted, which was longlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2007, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and winner of the Desmond Elliot Award for New Fiction.
Jessica Mitchell was born in Lancaster in 1983, and now lives in Bristol. She studied Drama with English at Manchester University and then Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam, where she specialised in poetry and script. Her first novel is titled Sylvia Said.
Stephanie Scott was born in Singapore. She graduated with First Class Honours in English Literature from the Universities of York and Cambridge and worked in Investment Banking in New York, London and Rome, before leaving finance to write full-time. Her debut novel, ‘The Sentence’, is set in modern Japan and in 2012 she was awarded the Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on Japan, a Distinction for her M.St in Creative Writing at Oxford University and the A.M. Heath Prize for New Writing. Thus far, Stephanie’s fiction has focused on East and South East Asia where she grew up: a poem on the Death Railway in Thailand was one of the winners the Fish International Poetry Prize 2011; her prose on the bombing of Hiroshima was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2012 & 2013; and a short story on post-war Singapore is currently being considered for a slot on BBC Radio 4.
Sarah Hegarty was born in Bristol, and grew up in the north-west. After graduating in Mandarin from Leeds University she worked as a print journalist, latterly as a freelance. She left journalism to start a family and studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University, graduating with Distinction in 2006. Her short fiction has been published by Cinnamon Press, Mslexia, the Momaya Annual Review and on the web, as well as placed in competitions. Her story Something Hidden is the title story of the 2013 anthology from Bridge House. Her first novel, The Ash Zone, based on her life in Beijing in 1980, won the 2011 Yeovil Literary Prize. Her novel-in-progress, Beyond the Forest, is inspired by the Congolese woman who appears at the end of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Find out more about Sarah’s work at www.sarahhegarty.co.uk
Mentor – Amy Rosenthal
Amy Rosenthal is an acclaimed playwright whose work has been produced across the country, as well as in New York and New Zealand. Plays include On The Rocks, shortlisted for the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for female dramatists.
German Munoz grew up in Tijuana, Mexico and it is here that he will always call home.. He wrote his first play when he was 13 and it was pretty bad. Nonetheless, seeing it performed by his class caused him much exhilaration. When his mother dragged him to see Edward Albee’s “Three tall women” he realised how powerful and moving theatre could be. His short plays have been produced in London at The Bush Theatre, Arcola Theatre, and Theatre503, as well as in Canada and the US. He was commissioned to write a short play for Papercut Theatre’s XY (“Hopelessly devoted to you”) which was seen at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2013 at the Pleasance Courtyard. His first full evening of work, “Straying in Seattle”, premiered at The White Bear Theatre in January 2014. He is very appreciative of the support and encouragement he received from Amy Rosenthal this year and has agreed to worship her for life.
Grace Cleary grew up in Glasgow. She had four children who, between them, provided her with 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. When her children were self-sufficient she completed her Social Work Qualification. She then obtained a Practice Teaching Diploma and a BA Honours Degree. All this resulted in a lifelong hunger for learning. Consequently, on the day that she retired, she applied for a Creative Writing Course at Edinburgh University. Last year she was chosen, from 630 applicants from all over the world, as one of 50 emerging playwrights – ‘The Traverse 50’ formed to celebrate the Traverse Theatre’s 50th Anniversery. She recently collaborated with Liz Lochhead, the Scottish Makar (Poet Laureate) and Tom Leonard,on a play which was performed in the Traverse, Oran Mor and The Barony Theatres. During her Arvon/Jerwood year she completed 2 full-length plays: But her greatest achievement will always be her children.
Yvonne Smith grew up in Croydon and studied literature at the University of Leeds. She works in the field of legal research and trade union education. She has had several short theatre plays performed at venues such as Theatre 503, the Etcetera Theatre. She has also worked with the Red Room Theatre Co on an optioned play Field and had rehearsed readings for: Paines Plough. Yvonne has reached the final shortlist of the Verity Bargate Competition. She has used the mentoring year to focus on completing her full-length play.
Mentor – Patience Agbabi
Patience Agbabi’s most recent collection is Telling Tales, a Canterbury Tales for the 21st century. She is a Fellow in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. http://patienceagbabi.wordpress.com/
Paul Stephenson was born and grew up in Cambridge. He studied modern languages then European Studies, living in France, Spain and the Netherlands. His poetry has appeared in many UK magazines as well as the anthology ‘Adventures in Form’ (Penned in the Margins, 2012). His poem ‘Round the Block’ was awarded second prize in the 2013 Café Writers Open Poetry Competition. He has been highly commended twice in the Bridport Prize. Recently he completed the Sheffield Poetry Business Writing School. He lives between London and Paris and works as a university teacher/researcher.
Samantha Jackson was born in Yorkshire and now lives in London, working as a commissioning editor for Penguin Random House. She has a first class degree in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, where she experienced her first creative writing workshop, taught by Esther Morgan. After focusing on a career in publishing, she came back to writing in 2006, completing a Creative Writing Certificate at Birkbeck University, followed by an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths University. Her work has appeared in UK poetry magazines and anthologies, including Ambit, ARTEMISpoetry, Iota, Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam, The Frogmore Papers and The Rialto.
Niall Campbell grew up on the island of South Uist, one of the Western Isles of Scotland. He has been a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award and the Arvon-Jerwood Mentorship Scheme, and won the Poetry London Competition in 2013. His first collection, Moontide, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.