The Rathbones Folio Mentorships are run by The Folio Prize Foundation, in association with First Story, and with thanks to our sponsor the Rathbone Investment Management. 

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 is a new anthology of creative writing that showcases the talents of fourteen gifted graduates of the Rathbones Folio Mentorships programme.

This remarkable anthology of creative writing showcases the Rathbones Folio Mentorships programme, run in partnership with First Story. The scheme, founded in 2017, pairs a group of phenomenally talented students – who have taken part in First Story’s Young Writers Programme – with writers from the Folio Academy, for a year of one-to-one creative writing mentoring.

The Day Is Fresh presents the mentees’ work in print for the first time. Inside, you’ll find fiction that ranges across fantasy, thriller, and realism; you’ll find bright and illuminating flashes of experimental prose; and you’ll discover dozens of pages of poetry that that will cause you to look at the world afresh. The 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.

Mentors, 2017-2021, selected from the Folio Academy were Raymond Antrobus, Francesca Beard, Lucy Caldwell, Louise Doughty, Joe Dunthorne, Paul Farley, Adam Foulds, Alice Jolly, AL Kennedy, Rachel Long, Kathryn Maris, Ross Raisin, Kamila Shamsie, Nikesh Shukla, and Sharlene Teo and Evie Wyld. The mentors for 2021-2022 are Caleb Azumah Nelson, Chloe Aridjis, Fiona Benson, Stephanie Cross, Will Eaves and Will Harris.

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

About The Rathbones Folio Mentorships

The Folio Academy, over 300 strong, is the group of outstanding writers and critics who form the Prize’s unique, de facto governing body. With the launch of the Mentorships programme in 2017, it began to undertake a more dynamic and wide-ranging role, in which four members of the Folio Academy are paired with four First Story students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. First Story brings talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities, to work with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills.

Throughout the programme, which runs through the academic year, mentors and 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 event held at the British Library.

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

Andrew Kidd and Kate Harvey, co-founders of The Folio Prize, said: From the outset, our ambition was that this should be more than ‘just a prize’, with the unique resource of the Folio Academy being ideally placed to engage the public in exploring the power and potential of writing to transform lives.’


The Alumni

Watch the video below from the Rathbones Folio Prize 2021 Ceremony, hosted by Razia Iqbal from the British Library, in which Kate Clanchy speaks about the mentorships programme.  

The Mentors

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.

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