The mentoring scheme includes 10 masterclasses, 6 focused on writing and 4 focused on the business of publishing. We start with writing-focused masterclasses to complement the 1-1 feedback from your mentor, and, as you near a complete draft and start to think about presenting it to publishers and agents, move on to the industry-focused ones. The first writing masterclass is led by Leila Rasheed (introductory).
Writing masterclasses will be led by:
Dean Atta’s debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and his debut novel, The Black Flamingo, won the Stonewall Book Award. He was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. Dean’s work often deals with themes of gender, identity, race and growing up – and has appeared on BBC One, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, and Channel 4. Dean regularly performs across the UK, and internationally. He is a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Dean is based in Glasgow, and is Co-director of the Scottish BAME Writers Network and a patron of LGBT+ History Month.
Watch and hear Dean’s poetry online:
Sharna Jackson is an author and curator who specialises in developing and delivering socially-engaged initiatives for children and young
people across culture, publishing and entertainment.
Her debut novel High-Rise Mystery released in 2019 has won numerous awards and accolades including Best Book for Younger Readers at the 2020 Waterstones Book Prize and Sunday Times Book of the Week. The
sequel, Mic Drop, was released in 2020. Sharna also develops books to encourage participation in the arts, with two activity books released with Tate in 2014. She was Southbank Centre’s Imagine A Story Author
in 2019/20 creating London/Londoff with over 1200 school children in the capital. Sharna lives on a ship in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
@sharnajackson on instagram and twitter.
Patrice Lawrence is an award-winning writer for children, teenagers and adults. Her books for young adults include Orangeboy, shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and winner of the Bookseller YA Prize and Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction, and Indigo Donut, Rose, Interrupted and Eight Pieces of Silva. She contributes to Radio 4’s Saturday Review, Woman’s Hour and Front Row and has written for a number of print and online publications. Patrice is a Costa Book Awards Judge for 2020.
Bali Rai has written over forty novels about teenagers and children since 2001, winning multiple awards and being shortlisted for even more. Born in Leicester, his writing is inspired by his working-class, multicultural background. A leading voice in UK teen and children’s fiction, Bali is a passionate advocate of libraries, reading for pleasure and promoting literacy. He has nearly twenty years of experience in working with young people across the UK and further afield and is extremely popular with schools.
Bali has worked closely with The Reading Agency, Booktrust, The National Literacy Trust, Empathy Lab UK and many other organisations, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University in 2014. He also featured on BBC1’s Rebel Writers show and is an ambassador/patron for several high-profile literacy and arts projects such as Listening Books. He was a Costa Book Award judge for 2019/20 for both the children’s and main prize, and is currently working on two new books. Now or Never (A Dunkirk Story) has been shortlisted for The Little Rebels award, and his latest title, Mohinder’s War, published in June 2020.
Subject to final confirmation, a writing masterclass will also be delivered by Alex Wheatle MBE (Cane Warriors). We’ll add details in the coming days – check back!
PERFORMING YOUR WORK: Dean Atta will deliver a further workshop on performing your work, drawing on his experience as a performance artist and poet.
PITCHING YOUR STORY: Writing West Midlands are delivering a workshop on pitching your work – something previous mentees found really helpful.
WORKING WITH EDITORS: Ask our panel whatever you like about the process of becoming a published author and how an editor can polish your gem of a novel: Rebecca Hill (Usborne), Kesia Lupo (Chicken House), Eishar Kaur (Knights of), Jasmine Richards (StoryMix) , Freya Hardy (Aquila Magazine).
WORKING WITH AGENTS: Why do most successful authors have a literary agent? What is their role, and how do you find the right partner for you? Ask Julia Churchill (AM Heath), Davina Andrew-Lynch (Andlyn), Abi Fellows (The Good Agency).
The masterclasses are delivered at regular intervals throughout the year to keep you inspired and connected. All masterclasses will be 1.5 hours long, and are likely to run on Saturday mornings, dates tbc.