The Madeleine Milburn Mentorship Programme, introduced in 2020 to champion new and exciting voices and launch their writing careers, has chosen eight authors for 2021.
The agency received more than 1,500 applications for mentorship across adult and children's fiction this year and reserved at least half the spaces available for underrepresented candidates. Successful applicants have a six-month programme of editorial guidance and presentations on the publishing industry, with a particular focus on international rights and book-to-film. The mentorship comes with guaranteed representation; the ultimate aim is to prepare manuscripts for submission to publishers around the world.
The 2021 mentees include Gamu Nhengu, an undergraduate student living in Scotland, with a lyrical coming-of-age story about growing up in the diaspora, as well as Gabrielle Griffiths, who is writing a historical fiction novel "full of superstition and mystery".
Also joining the group is Harry Godfrey with a satirical black comedy, journalist Bridget Shirvell, who is working on a non-fiction project about climate resilience, and Malaysian writer Kwan Ann Tan with her literary fiction novel that examines our relationship with colonial history and how it still influences society.
Sara di Fagandini and Tanesha Grant will both be working on their Young Adult manuscripts, while Ireland-based Soula Emmanuel is working on her upmarket literary crossover novel that explores "what it means to live on the jagged edge of labels in the 21st century".
Sophia Spiers, a mentee from last year’s Mentorship Programme, has seen her psychological thriller The Call of Cassandra Rose acquired for a mid-2022 publication.