Folio Academy Mentorships

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

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.

We are very grateful to the Amazon Literary Partnership which currently funds the scheme.


The 2023/4 Folio Academy Mentors

The 2023/4 Pairs

Victoria Adukwei Bulley (London), paired with Daniella Koranteng (London)

Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and artist. An alumna of the Barbican Young Poets and recipient of an Eric Gregory award, Victoria has held residencies in the US, Brazil and the V&A Museum in London. Her debut collection, Quiet, was published by Faber in 2022. It was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and won the Rathbones Folio Prize for Poetry and the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize.


Sunjeev Sahota, (Sheffield) paired with Ash Dixon (Bradford)

Sunjeev Sahota is a novelist. His first novel, Ours are the Streets, was published in 2011 and The Year of the Runaways followed in 2015. His third novel,China Room, was published by Harvill Secker, in 2021; it was longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize.


Samantha Harvey (Bath) paired with Sarah Zaman (London)

Samantha Harvey is the author of four novels, The Wilderness, All Is Song, Dear Thief and The Western Wind, and of a memoir, The Shapeless Unease. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award, the Walter Scott Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Baileys Prize, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the HWA Gold Crown Award. Her new novel, Orbital, will be published in November 2023 by Jonathan Cape (UK) and Grove Atlantic (US).


Peter Hobbs (London) paired with Matilda Wiggins (Derby)

Peter Hobbs is the author of two novels, The Short Day Dying and In The Orchard, The Swallows, as well as a collection of short stories, I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train. His work has won a Betty Trask Award, and been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize and the Whitbread First Novel Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a writer-in-residence for the schools literacy charity, First Story.

The 2023 Mentorships Showcase

On Saturday July 15th we gathered in St James’s at the London Library to hear from and celebrate this year’s amazing cohort of Rathbones Folio Mentors.

Back row left to right: Sam Byers, Frances Leviston, Momtaza Mehri, Diana Ozola, Emily Berry (just seen), Juno Szczawinska, Lily Ritchie.

Front row left to right: Sadiqah Miah, Qudsia Malik, Diana Evans.


The 2022 Rathbones Folio Mentorships Showcase

Our latest cohort of mentees shared their dazzling work at the London Library in July.

Emily Freeman (first on left) writes: Being a Rathbones Folio mentee and having Fiona Benson as my mentor has helped my writing in ways I find (ironically) difficult to describe. My instinct when it comes to the editing process has improved massively, and I’m now aware of my style and favourite subjects when it comes to writing. I am not afraid to experiment and understand that the first draft will never be perfect […] I feel like I am improving with every poem that I write. Read more here.

Cheyenne Taylor-Guest (third from right) writes: Chloe [Aridjis] has helped me understand when to write quotes and the best way to make the quotes sound natural between the characters. Chloe also helped me understand the attention to detail that I display in some of my writing and how to connect it to the writing further along. Read more here.


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


Our first anthology from Rathbones Folio Mentees is now available – more information here

2022-23 Mentors


Emily Berry is the author of three books of poems all published by Faber – Dear Boy (2013), Stranger, Baby (2017) and Unexhausted Time (2022), and a co-writer of The Breakfast Bible, a compendium of breakfasts. She is the editor of The Poetry Review.

Sam Byers is the author of Idiopathy (2013), Perfidious Albion (2018) and Come Join Our Disease (2021). His work has been shortlisted for many Prizes including the Costa First Novel Prize, the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction among others.

Diana Evans is a British author of Nigerian and English descent. She is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: the award-winning debut 26a, The Wonder and Ordinary People, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Rathbones Folio Prize among others.

Frances Leviston is a poet, critic and short story writer. Her first collection of poetry, Public Dream (2007), was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize among others; her second collection, Disinformation (2015), was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. She is also the author of the short story collection The Voice in My Ear (2020).

Chris Power has judged the Goldsmiths prize and is a Presenter on Radio 4’s Open Book. His debut story collection, Mothers (2018), published by Faber, was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize; he is also the author of a novel A Lonely Man (2021). Power previously wrote a long-running column for The Guardian about the short story form.

Momtaza Mehri is a prize-winning poet and essayist, the former Young People’s Laureate for London and columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least (2019), was published by Goldsmiths Press; her debut poetry collection will be published in 2023.

Since 2017 the following Folio Academy members have mentored on the programme:

Caleb Azumah-Nelson, Chloe Aridjis, Fiona Benson, Stephanie Cross, Will Eaves, Will Harris, Raymond Antrobus, Kathryn Maris, Paul Farley, Rachel Long, Lucy Caldwell, Alice Jolly, Nikesh Shukla, Sharlene Teo, Louise Doughty, Joe Dunthorne, Adam Foulds, Francesca Beard, A L Kennedy, Kamila Shamsie, Ross Raisin and Evie Wyld.