We launched the Mentorships programme in 2017, which pairs members of the Academy with First Story students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Rathbones Folio Academy Mentors and First Story Mentees meet face-to-face as well as online, to work on a creative writing portfolio project, which is then shared at a public showcase. (See the online showcase from 2021 below.)

The Rathbones Folio Mentorship scheme has been made possible by the generous funding of Amazon, Arts Council England and the Cockayne Foundation.

The 2022 Showcase will take place at the London Library on Saturday 9th July – watch this space!


The Day is Fresh – An Anthology by the Rathbones Folio Mentees

Edited by Ralf Webb, author of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection shortlisted Rotten Days in Late Summer, and with an introduction by A L Kennedy, The Day is Fresh showcases fantasy, thriller, realism, experimental prose, and poetry by 14 gifted graduates of the Rathbones Folio Mentorships programme.

The emerging writers featured in The Day is Fresh are: Adnaan Ali, Aisha Borja, Alice Impey, Henna Ravjibhai, Imaru Lewis, Katie Parkinson, Maria Clark, Mariamah Davey, Naomi Dairo, Nidaa Raoof, Priya Gill, Shakira Irfan, Sophie Crabtree, Soumya Shrestha, Vincent Otterbeck and Weronika Baronowska.

To buy a copy of the anthology, please head over to the First Story website.

The 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize Mentorships Showcase

The Mentors

2021-22 Mentors

Caleb Azumah Nelson, British-Ghanaian author of the acclaimed debut Open Water, published earlier this year.

Chloe Aridjis is a Mexican-American London-based author of three novels, Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in France, Asunder, set in London’s National Gallery, and Sea Monsters, which was awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Fiona Benson is a poet whose collection, Vertigo & Ghost which was shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and won both the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection.

Stephanie Cross is a Sunday Times top 10 bestselling ghostwriter, freelance editor, and fiction reviewer.

Will Eaves is the author of five novels, including Murmur, and two collections of poems.

Will Harris’ poetry debut Rendang (2020) was a Poetry Book Society Choice, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

2020-21 Mentors

Raymond Antrobus is the winner of the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and the Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year.

Kathryn Maris is a creative writing teacher and a poet, who has won the Academy of American Poets Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and Yaddo.

Paul Farley is a multi award-winning poet and non-fiction writer, who chaired the 2020 Rathbones Folio Prize.

Rachel Long is the leader of the Octavia Poetry Collective for Women of Colour.

2019 – 2020 Mentors

Lucy Caldwell is a Northern Irish playwright and novelist.

Alice Jolly has won both the Royal Society of Literature’s V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for short stories and the PEN/Ackerley Prize for autobiography.

Nikesh Shukla  is a British author, screenwriter and editor of the award-winning essay collection The Good Immigrant.

Sharlene Teo has received the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship and the David TK Wong Creative Writing award.

2018 – 2019 Mentors

Louise Doughty has launched a scholarship scheme for BAME candidates to access the acclaimed University of East Anglia Creative Writing course.

Joe Dunthorne is a novelist, poet and journalist. He received a BA and an MA in Creative Writing from UEA.

Adam Foulds has won the 2008 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and a Betty Trask Award. In 2010, Foulds was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Francesca Beard has performed and run workshops for the British Council all over the world. She has been Poet-in-Residence at institutions such as Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, the Natural History Museum, BBC White City and the Metropolitan Police.

2017 – 2018 Mentors

A L Kennedy has won over a dozen major prizes for her work, comprising books of literary fiction, non-fiction, short stories and children’s literature; her novel, Serious Sweet, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Kamila Shamsie is an award-winning novelist and an acclaimed essayist and media commentator whose most recent book, Home Fire, was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize

Ross Raisin‘s first novel, God’s Own Country, won him the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and was shortlisted for three other prizes

Evie Wyld‘s two novels have won and been shortlisted for numerous awards. She also runs Review, a small independent bookshop in South London.

The Rathbones Folio Mentorships are run by The Folio Prize Foundation, in association with First Story

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