We are proud and excited to introduce our mentors for 2023 – 2024!
This is an amazing range of talented published authors who have been on the journey (and it is a journey!) of writing a whole novel and being published themselves. They understand your position as a writer just starting out on that path because they’ve been there themselves. Where possible we’ll try to match you with a mentor who’s written in the genre or age range you are writing for. Above all, however, our mentors are expert readers with a powerful sense of story – and that transfers across all age ranges and genres.
Michael’s first writing success was for a poem about potatoes – in a competition run by a Yorkshire school catering company. As a ‘reward’, he had to shake hands with a giant potato mascot in front of his entire school. It would be many years before he dared write again.
These days, Michael is a teacher by day, dad by night, and mostly writes when he should be sleeping. He owes the idea for his middle grade novel, Ghostcloud, to his coal-mining grandad and a lifelong love of cloudspotting. He’s half-Indian and passionate about diversity in children’s literature, and loves books that keeps kids turning the page.
He has a first-class degree in anthropology, lives in East London with his (very patient) partner Joe and their (less patient) toddler, and can be found playing board games when he’s not busy losing his wallet. Michael was an Undiscovered Voices 2020 finalist, and his debut middle grade novel Ghostcloud was published by Hachette in October 2021.
Rachel Faturoti is a British-Nigerian screenwriter, poet and author of the middle grade novel, Sadé and Her Shadow Beasts and young adult novel, Finding Folkshore. Her first short story will be part of the upcoming YA anthology, A Taste of Darkness, which publishes with Scholastic in September 2023. She is currently completing a part time MA in Creative Writing at Brunel University.
Polly Ho-Yen used to be a primary school teacher in London and while she was teaching there she would get up very early in the morning to write stories. The first of those stories became her critically acclaimed debut novel BOY IN THE TOWER, published in 2014, which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. Since then, she’s written a number of novels for middle-grade, younger readers and adults. Her latest works include her adult debut DARK LULLABY published by Titan Books in 2021, THE DAY NO ONE WOKE UP published by Simon & Schuster in 2022 and THE BOY WHO GREW A TREE published by Knights Of in 2022. She lives in Bristol with her husband and daughter.
E. L. Norry (Emma) writes fiction and non-fiction for children. Her first book, a commission, Son of the Circus (Scholastic, 2019) is set in Victorian times with Pablo Fanque (the first black circus owner) as inspiration, and another historical book followed with My Story: Mary Prince (Scholastic August 2022). Emma likes to challenge herself by writing different styles and genres. Amber Undercover, (OUP, 2021) is a fun action-adventure spy story for 10+. She also has short stories in: Happy Here (Knights Of, 2021), The Place for Me: Stories from the Windrush (Scholastic, 2020) and The Very Merry Murder Club (Farshore, 2021). Non-fiction includes a biography of Lionel Messi (Scholastic, 2020), and Nelson Mandela (Puffin, 2020) as well as work on Black in Time with Alison Hamond (Puffin 2022) and Where Are You Really From? with Adam Rutherford, due out September 2023. April 2022 saw her first TV screen credit with an episode of Eastenders. Fablehouse, the first in a two book magical adventure series is due out 8 June 2023 (Bloomsbury). Find her on twitter at elnorry_writer.
Kereen Getten grew up in a small fishing village north of Jamaica where she would climb fruit trees in the family garden and eat as much mango, guinep and pear as she could without being caught. She now lives in Birmingham with her family and writes stories about her childhood experiences. Since her publishing deal in 2019, Kereen has released five children’s novels including When Life Gives You Mangoes and If You Read This.
Her debut novel When Life Gives You Mangoes was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Spark Award, Warwickshire Junior Book Award and the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize. Her latest adventure series The Case of the Lighthouse Intruder is Waterstones book of the month.
Kimberly Pauley is the award-winning author of books for kids, tweens, and teens. Writing mostly comedic fantasy fiction, her books have been honored as great picks for reluctant readers by the American Library Association. She also writes tabletop role-playing game (D&D) scenarios, usually filled with magic & mayhem.
Born in California in the US, she now makes her home in the UK with her husband, her teenage son and Marley J. Kravitz Gumball Popcorn Hoover Pauley (the dog).
The Accidental Wizard (Scholastic) is her latest series for younger readers and BookTrust says it has “a plot fizzing with energy”. Full of heart, magical missteps, and grumpy gnomes, it is sure to captivate fans of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.