We’re pleased to announce the mentors for this year’s Escalator Talent Development Scheme, who will form part of the judging panel for entries and will also offer practical advice and creative feedback to selected writers over the nine-month period.
Yvvette is a British Author of Montserratian origin, who grew up in Hackney and resides in East London. Her debut novel, A Cupboard Full of Coats, was nominated for a number of literary awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Her second novel, The Mother, was published in 2016. Yvvette is currently a judge for the new Jhalak Prize for fiction, and is returning for a second year as a mentor on Escalator. Twitter | Website
‘I can think of no greater resource for an emerging writer than access to a writer and mentor, someone interested in, focussed on, and invested in their development, happy to read their work and provide support, encouragement and advice, who has faced and overcome the obstacles to writing and finishing a piece of work, and is familiar with the struggle to remain motivated and focussed during what can be a long and solitary process. The Escalator talent development scheme is an incredible, free, validating, potentially life-changing opportunity for emerging writers, and it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be returning as a mentor.’
Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator, with some sixty books to his name. He writes non-fiction and translates fiction and children’s books. His work has won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the International Dublin Literary Award, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, among others. He is a former chair of the Society of Authors, the UK’s writers’ union, and on the board of a number of organisations that deal with literature and free expression. Twitter | Website
Anjali Joseph was born in Bombay. She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, and did the MA course in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she also taught creative writing to undergraduates for four years. She teaches at the Arvon Foundation and elsewhere. Saraswati Park (2010), her first novel, won the Desmond Elliott and Betty Trask Prizes, and was joint winner of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award for Fiction in India. Another Country, her second novel (2012) was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. The Living, her third novel, appeared in March 2016. Website
Ross Raisin is the author of three novels: A Natural (2017), Waterline (2011) and God’s Own Country (2008). In 2013 he was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and he has been the recipient of several other awards, including The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and a Betty Trask Award, and been shortlisted for various others, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Guardian First Book Award. He has written short stories for publications such as Granta, Prospect, the Sunday Times, Esquire, BBC Radio 3 and 4, and in 2018 published a book for the Read This series, on the practice of fiction writing: Read This if you Want to be a Great Writer. Ross teaches at Goldsmiths College and as part of the Guardian Masterclass programme and is a writer-in-residence for the education charity First Story.
‘One of the trickier conundrums of starting out as a writer is that, over time, you will hopefully gain a small, willing team of skilled professionals to help you and your projects along their way – but at the outset, when you most desire that guidance, you are usually alone, writing into the dark. A good mentoring partnership can be an invaluable way of bolstering the confidence and craft of a new writer, with the added boon for the mentor that it is a lot of fun observing a project, and a writer, gradually taking shape.’
Hayley Webster came to Norfolk to do the MA in Creative Writing at UEA in 2003. She writes and reads across all genres, and for all ages, and is passionate about writers finding ways to be able to do this. The first draft of her first novel, Jar Baby, (Dexter Haven, 2012) was written during the year of her own Escalator Award in 2006 and as Hayley Scott her Teacup House series for emerging readers was published by Usborne in 2018. She has written for Grazia, The Observer Magazine, and did a sold-out event at Edinburgh festival 2018. She has a new novel out in 2019, and is currently working on several projects with publishers, including more books for children, and memoir writing. Twitter | Website
‘Nobody in my family had ever done anything like this, and I knew nothing about the process of becoming a published writer at all, just that I had to write. For me Escalator was brilliant space to allow me freedom to write, but also structure, and a place to ask all those questions I didn’t know who to ask, so I’m delighted to be coming back as a mentor.’
Diran Adebayo, Tahmina Anam, Sally Cline, Natasha Cooper, Jill Dawson, Yvvette Edwards, Bernardine Evaristo, Midge Gillies, Danny Hahn, Shelley Harris, Tobias Hill, Joanna Hines, Kerry Hudson, Benjamin Johncock, Gillian McClure, Katherine McMahon, Courttia Newland, Alex Preston, Kate Pullinger, David Rain, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Amy Sackville, Guy Saville, Nikesh Shukla, Michelle Spring, Cathi Unsworth.