After considering more than 1500 applications across adult and children’s fiction, we are so delighted to announce the six mentees of the inaugural Madeleine Milburn Mentorship Programme.

We are thrilled by the range of genres and backgrounds represented by our mentees. The selection process was hugely competitive, but we felt that each one of them had something special.

Each mentee will receive an offer of representation and editorial guidance on their manuscripts over the six month programme. They will be learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry and have an in-depth introduction to our agency. We are incredibly eager to work with these brilliant writers and to help launch their careers.

Madeleine Milburn said, ‘We were blown away by the high standard of the entries and the number of applications. We are thrilled to be working with these incredibly talented writers and to guide them in the early days of their career. Reading for the mentorship has been a very rewarding experience and particularly exciting to see such a diverse range of voices represented in our mentees. We cannot wait to see what comes next for their careers.

The mentees are:

Nigar Alam The House with the Tamarind Tree

Nigar Alam was born in Pakistan and spent her childhood in Italy, Turkey, Nigeria, Indonesia, Kenya and the United States. She returned to live in Pakistan as an adult for many years and now lives in Minnesota, USA, with her husband and two children. Her flash fiction can be found in Cleaver Magazine and the Atticus Review, where she was also a Featured Fiction Writer.

Ronali Collings All the Single Ladies

Ronali Collings has a degree in English Literature from King’s College London, studied law and worked in the City for professional services firms for 16 years. After several years as a stay at home mother, she obtained a MA in Creative Writing from Brunel University. Born and bred in Middlesex, she still lives there.

Sophie Jo Anna Campbell, Nicest Girl 

Sophie Jo is a writer and poet from Coventry. She is very big on snacks, underrated ’00s TV show The O.C., and reading books about teenagers who are dealing with the very best and worst that life can throw at them. Sophie tweets about Disneyland too much at @sophiejowrites.

Avione Lee Pied: Min and the Perilous Pipe 

Avione Lee is a classically trained engineer with her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. After working as a researcher at Nationwide Children’s hospital she decided to try her hand at writing a middle-grade story that all children would love – one full of adventure and excitement to take their minds off their day. She also answered the call of adventure and left her job to travel around North America in a teeny tiny truck camper with her husband and small children. Her novel was further inspired by those travels.

Francesca Robbins Victoriana 

Francesca Robbins studied Law, then English Literature at Cambridge University. Francesca is currently an English tutor, and has previously worked as a copywriter and editor. She was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award in 2020. She lives in Brighton with her husband and enough books to bury them both alive.

Sophia Spiers The Hypnotherapist

Sophia, a Londoner of proud Italian and Greek heritage studied Film and TV at university. In her twenties she worked in TV and post-production before turning her attention to her true passion: writing. In 2019, she graduated from Faber Academy’s Writing A Novel course and is now completing her debut novel, The Hypnotherapist.

Sophia lives in North London with her husband, two children and two cats.