Our pool of mentors are experienced writers, teachers, and workshop leaders. Between them they have a wealth of experience, have published their work independently and in the mainstream, taught at university-level, and produced work in print and radio. Our mentors are carefully paired with mentees through our matching service.
Mentors include Susmita Bhattacharya, Rebecca Burns, Elizabeth Chakrabarty, Elaine Chiew, Michael Donkor, Melissa Fu, Amanthi Harris, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Sairish Hussain, Vaseem Khan, Leone Ross, Alison Woodhouse, and Kerry Young.
Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian-born writer whose debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian, 2015), was long listed at the 2018 Mumbai Film Festival. Her short story collection, Table Manners (Dahlia Publishing, 2018), won the 2019 Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection and was featured on BBC Radio 4 Extra. She was a mentor on the first Middle Way Mentoring programme and co-founder of the Write Beyond Borders Mentoring Programme. She teaches creative writing at Winchester University and has developed a Short Fiction course for Professional Writing Academy.
Rebecca Burns is an award-winning writer of short stories. Her story collections, Catching the Barramundi (2012) and The Settling Earth (2014) were both longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Award. She has also been profiled as part of the University of Leicester’s Grassroutes Project that showcases the 50 best transcultural writers in the county. Her debut novel, The Bishop’s Girl, was published by Odyssey Books in September 2016, followed by a third short story collection, Artefacts and Other Stories (2017), a sequel novel to The Settling Earth, called Beyond the Bay, was published in 2018. Her first novella, Quilaq, was published by Next Chapter in 2020. Her linked short story collection, Kezia and Rosie was published by Dahlia Books.
Elizabeth Chakrabarty is an interdisciplinary writer using creative and critical writing, besides performance, to explore themes of race, gender and sexuality. Her debut novel Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, inspired by experience of race hate crime, was published in 2021 by the Indigo Press, along with her essay, On Closure and Crime. In 2022 Elizabeth was longlisted for both the Desmond Elliott Prize, and also shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize, for Lessons in Love and Other Crimes. She was also shortlisted for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022. She was shortlisted for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize in 2016. Her poetry has been published by Visual Verse, and her short creative-critical work includes writing published in Gal-Dem, New Writing Dundee, Wasafiri, and the anthology Imagined Spaces (Saraband, 2020), and in translation, by Glänta and Deus Ex Machina. She lives in London.
Elaine Chiew is the author of The Heartsick Diaspora and compiler/editor of Cooked Up: Food Fiction From Around the World. Her stories have won prizes, notably twice in the Bridport International Short Story Prize, and been anthologised in the U.S., UK and Asia, recently with BBC Radio 4 and in The Best Asian Short Stories 2021. She mentors, teaches creative writing ad hoc, writes freelance and has worked as an independent researcher in the visual arts. She has an M.A. in Asian Art History from Goldsmiths London. In a former career, she was a U.S. trained attorney with a degree from Stanford and worked in New York, London and Hong Kong. Her first novel, The Light Between Us was longlisted for the inaugural Cheshire Novel Prize and will be out in 2024 with Neem Tree Press. You can find more information on www.epchiew.com and find her on Twitter @ChiewElaine, FB @epchiew.921 and IG @ epchiew.
Michael Donkor studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, and undertook a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. The Observer named him as one of 2018’s best debut authors for his first novel Hold (4th Estate) and in 2019, he was longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and selected by Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay as one of the ten best BAME writers in the UK. He writes and reviews for the Guardian and has appeared on both Radio 3 and 4. He is working on his second novel which is due to be released next spring.
Melissa Fu grew up in Northern New Mexico and lives in Cambridge UK. With backgrounds in physics and English, she worked in education before focusing on writing. In 2018/2019 Melissa was the David TK Wong Fellow at the University of East Anglia and was the recipient of an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice grant. Her first novel, Peach Blossom Spring, was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick in the UK and a 2022 Indies Introduce title for the American Booksellers Association. It was nominated for ‘Book of the Year’ by the Book of the Month Club and was a ‘GoodReads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction 2022.’ It is available now in English, Dutch, German and Italian. Hungarian, Romanian and Polish editions are forthcoming.
Amanthi Harris grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka and London. She studied Fine Art at Central St Martins and has degrees in Law and Chemistry from Bristol University. Her novel BEAUTIFUL PLACE was published in 2019 by Salt Publishing (UK) and Pan Macmillan India. LANTERN EVENING, a novella, won the Gatehouse Press New Fictions Prize 2016. Her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies including Best British Short Stories 2020 and broadcast on BBC Radio4. She currently lives in the mountains of southern Spain. www.amanthiharris.com
Ashley Hickson-Lovence is a novelist and Lecturer of Creative Writing based in Norwich. While working as a secondary school English teacher, he completed his MA in Creative Writing and Publishing from City, University of London and is currently finishing his PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. He has lectured at Brunel University, Arts University Bournemouth, University of East Anglia and the University of Suffolk. He is currently an Arvon and Faber Academy tutor and a First Story writer-in-residence at Haringey Learning Partnership: Commerce House. His debut novel The 392 was released with OWN IT! in April 2019. His second novel Your Show, based on the life and career of former football referee Uriah Rennie, was released with Faber in April 2022 and was longlisted for the 2022 Gordon Burn Prize. His third book Wild East, a YA novel-in-verse, will be released with Penguin in 2024. His fourth book is called About to Fall Apart. @AHicksonLovence
Sairish Hussain is a Bradford based author and Lecturer in Creative Writing. Her debut novel, The Family Tree, was published by HarperCollins and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Portico Prize and The Diverse Book Awards. It was also longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and winner of Calibre Audio’s ‘Hidden Gem’ Prize. Sairish was selected by Kei Miller as one of ten ‘unmissable writers working in the UK’ for the International Literature Showcase 2021. She was one of the finalists in the Women’s Prize & Good Housekeeping Futures Award, an initiative which celebrates the most promising emerging female authors today. Sairish is now writing her second book.
Vaseem Khan is the author of two award-winning crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency series set in modern Mumbai, and the Malabar House historical crime novels set in 1950s Bombay. His first book, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 40 best crime novels published 2015-2020, and is translated into 17 languages. The second in the series won the Shamus Award in the US. In 2021, Midnight at Malabar House won the Crime Writers Association Historical Dagger. The book was also shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Vaseem was born in England, but spent a decade working in India. His latest novel, The Lost Man of Bombay, was a crime book of the year in The Guardian, The FT, and The Daily Express which called it ‘the best historical thriller of the year’.
Leila Rasheed is a widely published author of children’s fiction. She has taught creative writing and mentored individual writers in a variety of settings, including for several years on the University of Warwick’s MA in Writing. Her writing for children and teenagers has been published by Scholastic, Usborne, Disney Hyperion and various other traditional publishers – most recently, her historical fiction set in Roman Britain: Empire’s End, was shortlisted for the Tower Hamlets Book Award. In 2016, in response to the continuing absence of people of colour from children’s literature, she set up a project, the Megaphone
Writer Development Scheme, to mentor children’s writers of colour, and is now the first director of Megaphone Writers CIC. She loves travelling and has lived all over the world, mostly in cities beginning with B: Benghazi, Brussels, Barnsley, Birmingham. She has also worked in bookselling and teaches professional writing skills for the Royal Literary Fund.
Leone Ross is a three-time novelist, short story writer and editor. Her fiction has been nominated for the Women’s Prize, the Goldsmiths award, the RSL Ondaatje award, and the Edge Hill Prize, among others. In 2022, she won the Manchester Prize for Fiction for a single short story, ‘When We Went Gallivanting’. The Guardian has praised her ‘searing empathy’ and the Times Literary Supplement called her ‘a pointilliste, a master of detail…’ Ross has taught creative writing for 20 years up to PhD level, and worked as a journalist throughout the 90s. Her most recent novel, This One Sky Day aka Popisho was published in 2021 [Faber & Faber]. She is the editor of Glimpse: A Black British Anthology of Speculative Fiction, published in 2022 [Peepal Tree Press].
Alison Woodhouse is a writer, creative writing tutor and editor. Her short fiction has won a number of competitions and many other pieces have been placed or shortlisted. Her stories are widely published both in print and online. Her debut Novella in Flash, The House on the Corner, was published in 2020 by Ad Hoc Fiction and her flash fiction collection, Family Frames, was published in 2021 by V Press. She has an MA (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Bath Spa and is one of the team who organise the Bath Short Story Competition. You can find out more about Alison on her website www.alisonwoodhouse.com
Kerry Young is the author of three novels published by Bloomsbury. Pao (2011) shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Book Prize and the East Midlands Book Award; Gloria (2013) longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and Show Me A Mountain (2016). Kerry’s short story Home Is Where the Heart Is was published in Hometown Tales: The Midlands (W&N, 2018). Tomorrow Is Another Day was published in Wasafiri (Issue 100, Winter 2019). Daphne was published in Caribbean Quarterly Volume 67, June 2021: Issue 1-2.
Kerry is a member of The Literary Consultancy Advisory Board and an Arvon Foundation tutor. She was Royal Literary Fund Writer-in-Residence at the University of Sheffield (2014-16) and is now a RLF Project Consultant.