Hachette UK's Future Bookshelf programme has paired nine writers from underrepresented backgrounds with Hachette UK editors as part of its mentoring strand for 2021.
The Future Bookshelf forms part of Hachette UK’s Changing the Story programme and was set up to help and discover unpublished authors.
The chosen authors have written books covering a wide range of fiction including sci-fi, YA, crime and thriller, fantasy, reading group fiction and historical fiction. In all, 700 submissions were received through the Future Bookshelf’s open submission scheme.
Previously operated through the Hodder, Headline, John Murray Press and Quercus divisions, the programme has expanded to include all Hachette UK’s divisions and so mentors this year include editors from Bookouture and the Hachette Children’s Group.
Lasting six months, the mentoring consists of manuscript feedback, followed by one-on-one sessions and a final sign-off call to discuss how to find an agent and build a writing support network. Each mentee will also receive package of creative writing books from Hachette UK.
Previous authors discovered through the scheme include Elizabeth Wong, author of We Could Not See The Stars (John Murray) and Rebecca Zahabi whose debut has been bought by Gollancz.
Nick Davies, chair of The Future Bookshelf, said: “We’re delighted to be able to evolve and expand our mentoring scheme for these nine talented authors, and we’re thrilled to see Elizabeth and Rebecca’s debuts make it all the way to contract. It’s a great way to mark Changing the Story’s fifth anniversary. A big thank you to colleagues across Hachette UK for their hard work and passion for the project, and for the continued support across the agenting community and wider industry. We look forward to announcing new collaborations and exciting new initiatives in the near future.”
This year, the Future Bookshelf has also teamed up with Curtis Brown Creative to give free access to one of Curtis Brown Creative’s short online courses which cover the stages of writing a book, but also genre specific courses.
Anna Davis, founder and m.d. of Curtis Brown Creative, said: “Organisations such as Curtis Brown Creative have a responsibility to reach out to talented, underrepresented writers, to help them to achieve their full potential and to demonstrate to them that the publishing industry wants to hear from them. We are delighted to be a part of this excellent programme from Hachette UK.”
The nine mentees and their work for 2021 include Inigo Purcell for An Entirely Different Person, who will be mentored by Tinder Press assistant editor Amy Perkins, Suzy Aspley with One for Sorrow, mentored by Jo Dickinson, crime and thriller publisher at Hodder & Stoughton, Mara Patraiko with Six and a Half, who will be mentored by Ella Gordon, senior commissioning editor at Wildfire, and Elliot Sweeney with The Greater Good, who will be mentored by Therese Keating, commissioning editor at Bookouture.
Also joining the programme are Claire Dangerfield with Plexus: North One, mentored by Tig Wallace, senior commissioning editor at Hachette Children’s Group, David Parkin with Tea Bags. Soap, Be Normal, mentored by Kate Craigie senior editor at John Murray Press, Danielle Devlin with Burnt Offerings, mentored by Lily Cooper, editor at Hodder & Stoughton, Suzanne Parsons with Secrets in the Sky mentored by Abigail Scruby, assistant editor at John Murray Press, and Kat Humphreys with Blackout, mentored by Rachel Wade, senior commissioning editor, at Hachette Children’s Group.