Megaphone Mentors 2021

Megaphone mentors are writers supporting other writers. We have insight into what it is to live the writing life: the ups, the downs and everything in between. We want to help you discover the book you want to write, not the book others think you should write.

Megaphone started with one mentor: Leila Rasheed. We’re really proud that both Danielle Jawando and Maisie Chan had such a positive experience on Megaphone as mentees, that once published they wanted to come back as mentors and pay it forward.

Picture of Alexandra Sheppard

Alexandra Sheppard

Alexandra Sheppard is a children’s author from North London. Her debut novel OH MY GODS was published by Scholastic and has been covered in Buzzfeed, Refinery 29 and The Guardian’s Best Summer Reading Books 2019.

Photo of Maisie Chan, author

Maisie Chan

Maisie’s first novel for children: Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths, will be released in 2021 from Picadilly Press. US rights have sold too. She has also written many short stories for children, including Stories from Around the World for Scholastic Classics. Maisie will be mentoring one British East Asian/ South East Asian (BESEA) writer. She has experience in mentoring, including through her own BESEA-focused group, Bubble Tea Writers. About Megaphone, she said:

“Megaphone was a wonderful opportunity for me to really focus on becoming a children’s author. I had been told my writing ‘voice’ would be good for children/YA, but I had never written a novel. Frankly, I was scared to begin one, as I worried it would be terrible! Megaphone offered sustained support over a year to begin a novel for children, and the masterclasses from professionals was simply invaluable. Leila was a brilliant mentor, being both supportive and knowledgeable of the children’s publishing industry. Without Megaphone I doubt I would be where I am right now in my career. I have since written books for Hachette, Collins and Scholastic, my debut novel Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths (Published 10th June 2021 Piccadilly Press). I have also been a mentor for #WriteMentor and have mentored two British Chinese writers since 2018. I’m excited to be part of the 2021 Megaphone scheme as a mentor; and can’t wait to share what I’ve learnt!  “

Maisie is the 2020 Gavin Wallace Fellow at Peter Pan Moat Brae:


Twitter @maisiewrites

Photo of Danielle Jawando, author

Danielle Jawando

Danielle Jawando is an author, screenwriter and Associate Lecturer. In 2015, Danielle worked on Coronation Street as a storyline writer and has had several short plays performed at the King’s Arms in Manchester and Stratford Circus in London. Her short story Kyle’s City (for children aged 5 to 7) was commissioned by the BBC and broadcast on iplayer in 2017.  Danielle’s first nonfiction book for children, a biography about the life of Maya Angelou, was published by Laurence King in 2019. Her debut YA novel And The Stars Were Burning Brightly (which was written in first draft, during the Megaphone programme) was published by Simon & Schuster this year. And the Stars Were Burning Brightly has gone on to be shortlisted for the 2020 Great Read Awards, long-listed for the 2021 UKLA Book Awards and nominated for the prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her second young adult novel will be published next year.

Praise for her writing includes:
An outstanding and compassionate debut’ Patrice Lawrence
‘An utter page turner from a storming new talent. Passionate, committed and shines a ray of light into the darkest places – the YA novel of 2020!’ Melvin Burgess
‘One of the brightest up and coming stars of the YA world’ Alex Wheatle

About Megaphone, Danielle said:

“Megaphone was a truly life changing experience for me. Before being part of the scheme, I didn’t even know if I could write for children and Young Adults, let alone finish a full novel! Everything from the incredible support, to the editorial feedback and expert masterclasses were all so invaluable. I’m so excited that there will be a second round of Megaphone. I agreed to come back as mentor, so that I can nurture and support another writer (just as much as Leila has helped to nurture and support me). Megaphone is so important and very much needed in this industry and I can’t wait to see the next round of children’s authors that will come from this!”

Photo of Leila Rasheed, author

Leila Rasheed

Leila Rasheed (she/her) is a children’s author and creative writing tutor. She had the idea for Megaphone in 2014 after reading an article called Where are the people of color in children’s books? by Walter Dean Myers. She is the author of multiple children’s books, most recently EMPIRE’S END (Scholastic, 2020, shortlisted for the Tower Hamlets book award). Her experience includes designing and teaching a module in Writing for Children on the MA in Writing at the University of Warwick, working as a children’s bookseller and for the National Literacy Trust. She is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.  Over the past ten years she has worked with many emerging writers individually and in small groups to bring their writing to the best possible level. She has an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton (Surrey) and a distinction in an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick.  She lives in Birmingham.

Twitter: @LeilaR and @MegaphoneWrite

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