We are fast approaching the end of the year, and we can’t quite believe how fast time has flown. The MM mentorship scheme is now in its second year, and we have just crossed the halfway mark in this six month programme.

We were completely blown away by the passion and enthusiasm when we first opened up to applications. We received an overwhelming total of over 1,500 submissions, and were utterly thrilled to select our final mentees from a highly impressive pool of applicants. In an effort to expand our mentorship, this year’s programme was made available to eight new mentees, at least half of whom came from underrepresented backgrounds. We were delighted to welcome Gamu Nhengu, Gabrielle Griffiths, Harry Godfrey, Bridget Shirvell, Kwan Ann Tan, Sara di Fagandini, Tanesha Grant and Soula Emmanuel to the agency in September!

Since then, our mentees have been working hard with their mentors to develop their manuscripts. The mentorship is tailored to each writer, and they have each had one-on-one editorial meetings and received detailed written feedback based on the stage of completion their manuscript is at. We have also organised monthly speaker sessions for our mentees – in our first session, our very own director and literary agent Madeleine Milburn provided an insight into pitching and submissions. Our mentees had a chance to meet our International Rights Department, who gave them an introduction on translation rights, and our Film/TV Agent Hannah Ladds talked them through the exciting book to film process. We were delighted to introduce a brand new session this year too, hosted by former Bloomsbury publicist Emma Bal, who took mentees through the twists and turns of a book’s marketing and publicity campaign.

We have received some wonderful feedback from our mentees, and are delighted share a selection here:

‘Being part of the MM mentorship programme has provided me with a continued sense of purpose. It has spurred me through the kinds of days when writing four our five coherent sentences seems like an impossible challenge and I find myself wondering aloud what on earth I’m doing trying to be a writer. I felt lucky when I was chosen to be a part of it, and continue to feel this way months later.‘ – Gamu Nhengu 

‘I have to say that it’s been great being a mentee. I have attempted to learn about the industry before, but this mentorship has taken me step-by-step through various aspects of the publishing process in a way which is simply not available elsewhere due to Madeleine Milburn’s use of their personal resources.’Harry Godfrey 

‘I’ve really enjoyed the sessions – it’s been great to gain such frank insights on aspects of the publishing world that can be quite oblique to a would-be novelist. I’ve appreciated the variety of the sessions and they’ve enabled me to see how many different opportunities and potential income streams there are. It feels like the agency has a great handle on all these and therefore the team is well-placed to hopefully help us mentees land many deals in the future!’ – Gabrielle Griffiths 

We are so proud of how far our mentees have come since the start of this programme. There is still more to come in the new year, and we cannot wait to share more updates as this mentorship continues.