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Jerwood/Arvon Mentees 2017/18

Arvon is delighted to announce the mentees for this year’s Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Programme, to be mentored by playwright Tim Crouch, poet Pascale Petit and novelist Jacob Ross.

The Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Programme, run in partnership with Jerwood Charitable Foundation, takes on twelve talented, emerging writers, who are mentored for one year by an established writer working in either Poetry, Fiction or Playwriting. The programme includes two separate weeks away at an Arvon centre, ongoing one-to-one support, and advice from industry specialists. Find out more about the programme here:


Jacob Ross - Mentor

Jacob Ross


Jacob Ross is Associate Editor for Fiction at Peepal Tree Press, author of several story collections and editor of five short story anthologies. His novel, Pynter Bender, was shortlisted for the Society of Authors ‘Best first Novel’. His latest novel is The Bone Readers – shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize and the Association of Caribbean Writers Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Jo Clayton -

Jo Clayton

Jo Clayton is a professional storyteller, director and workshop leader. She led community projects at The Globe Theatre for three years, and has performed at the Southbank Centre and in schools, nurseries, festivals and hospitals telling traditional tales. She writes plays, poetry and short stories and her short film Ruby was shortlisted for a Birds Eye View Award and screened at the ICA. She is currently working on her first novel, set in South London where she lives. She is represented by Gemma Cooper at the Bent Agency.

Martin Kidd -

Martin Kidd

Martin Kidd was born in Leicester, raised in Plymouth, seasoned in Nottingham and is now marinating in the far South Western reaches of Cornwall. He is a songwriter, traveller, cat scratcher and all-round reasonably nice guy. His huge love of fiction and wordsmithery in general has had him working on his debut novel, The First Hate for several years. Martin will use his Jerwood/Arvon mentoring year to complete this novel and plan the next.

Jemma Picken -

Jemma Picken

Jemma Picken is an Assistant Claims Manager for a large construction and facilities management company in the West Midlands. She studied BSc Archaeological Sciences, MSc Forensic Archaeology and Crime Scene Investigation and LLDip. Jemma started writing for her own enjoyment as a teenager, but has only started sharing her stories in the last 3 years. One of her short stories was the British Fantasy Society’s story of the month in February 2017. Jemma will use the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring year to work on her first novel, The Price of Daylight.

Abbie Salter -

Abbie Salter

Abbie Salter graduated from Exeter with a First Class Honours in English and Creative Writing. She moved to London shortly after, with no job but a pile of writing journals. She now works for a publishing house and volunteers as an editor for For Books’ Sake, an organisation that champions women and other marginalised writers.


Tim Crouch - Playwriting mentor

Tim Crouch

Playwriting mentor

Tim Crouch is a performer, writer and director. His plays include My Arm, England, An Oak Tree, The Author and Adler & Gibb and a series of plays inspired by Shakespeare’s lesser characters, that includes I, Malvolio. For the RSC, Tim has directed The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear and I, Cinna (the poet). Most recently, Tim has adapted and directed The Complete Deaths for Spymonkey and directed Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore at the Unicorn Theatre.

Rachel Burns -

Rachel Burns

Rachel Burns was recently longlisted in the Papatango New Writing Prize. Her short plays have been performed at Live Theatre Newcastle and Alphabetti. She was selected for a screenwriting talent scheme with Northern Film and Media. Rachel has published poetry in several literary magazines and a short story in Mslexia. She participated in two Arvon courses, radio and Young Adult writing. Her YA novel was selected for TLC Free Reads and her comedy radio drama was longlisted by the BBC Script Room. She is going to use the year to develop a full length play.

Maeve Clarke -

Maeve Clarke

Maeve Clarke is from Birmingham and has an MA in Novel Writing from Manchester University. Her first novel, What Goes Round, was published by Tindal Street Press. In 2016, she was shortlisted for WriteNow (Penguin Random House). She has written two educational readers, Give us the Money and The Real Deal. ‘Sewing Flowers’ won first prize (flash fiction) in the 2016 Creative Futures Literary Awards. Her monologue ‘Night Games’ will be published in the anthology Sounds Exceeding 80 Decibels in 2017. Delighted to be chosen for the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Programme, Maeve will use the year to develop a new play.

Russ Davies -

Russ Davies

Russ Davies is a teacher and writer from Rochdale, Lancashire, living in Lewisham, London. He is delighted to have been selected as one of this year’s mentees and hopes to take a lifetime of inspiration from the week-long retreats at Totleigh Barton and the mentoring with Tim Crouch.

Laurie Ogden -

Laurie Ogden

Laurie Ogden is a poet and playwright from Merseyside. She is a Barbican Young Poet and recipient of the Outspoken Performance Poetry Prize (2016). She was also selected for the BBC Words First programme (London) in collaboration with the Roundhouse and BBC Radio 1Xtra. Her play TWIX (Antonym Theatre) was labelled “a new writing triumph” by A Younger Theatre. Laurie’s next two plays, Colder Water and Side Orders, are currently in rehearsals for performances in the summer of 2017.


Pascale Petit - Poetry Mentor

Pascale Petit

Poetry Mentor

Pascale Petit’s seventh collection Mama Amazonica will be published by Bloodaxe in 2017. Her sixth, Fauverie  (Seren, 2014), was her fourth to be shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and five poems from the book won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. Petit has had three collections chosen as Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, Independent and Observer. She has travelled extensively, particularly in the Peruvian and Venezuelan Amazon, and her books have been translated in Mexico, China, Serbia and France. She trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art and spent the first part of her life as a visual artist. In 2015 she received a Cholmondeley Award.

Romalyn Ante -

Romalyn Ante

Romalyn Ante grew up in Lipa, Philippines. She now lives in Wolverhampton. Her poems have been widely published in the UK, USA, and South East Asia, appearing in magazines/ejournals such as Under the Radar, Cannon’s Mouth, Eastlit, Anak Sastra Literary Journal, and Ink, Sweat & Tears, among others. She has been commended in the Poetry category of the Creative Future Literary Awards and has prize-winning poems in The Yellow Book (Rethink Your Mind, 2015). She will use her time on the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Programme to work on her first collection.  She blogs at

Alice Hiller -

Alice Hiller

Alice Hiller lives in London but also works in Oxford where she manages the Estate of émigré sculptor Oscar Nemon. Initially a teenage mother and freelance journalist, she read English at UCL with two small sons. Her PhD explored Fanny Kemble and Anglo-American travel writing after the American Revolution. Having lost her husband Falcon to cancer in 2002, Alice embarked on her journey into poetry in her forties. She will use her year on the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Programme to complete her first collection, album without photos. The poems respond to her experience of making a life after being sexually abused in childhood.

Seraphima Kennedy -

Seraphima Kennedy

Seraphima Kennedy grew up in west London and completed an MA in poetry at Goldsmiths in 2009. She writes creative non-fiction about family, migration, conflict and music, and is in the final stages of a PhD. Recently she’s been published in Magma, And Other Poems, SouthBank Poetry and the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, and has performed at the Troubadour, Vortex Jazz Club, Much Wenlock Poetry Festival, LitLive and The Poetry Shuffle.  She was recently longlisted for The Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers competition and is a member of the collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.

Yvonne Reddick -

Yvonne Reddick

Yvonne Reddick was born in Glasgow and grew up in Aberdeen, Berkshire and Kuwait. She studied English at Cambridge and has worked as an academic since completing her PhD at Warwick. Yvonne won a Northern Writer’s Award for poetry and the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition in 2016. Her pamphlet Translating Mountains is published by Seren. Her poems appear in magazines such as Stand and Shearsman, and have been translated into Greek and Swedish. With the artist Diana Zwibach, she co-curates the art and poetry exhibition Deerhart. Her book Ted Hughes: Environmentalist and Ecopoet will be published by Palgrave Macmillan.