A Writing Chance 2024-25

photo by Dan Haworth-Salter

Meet the 16 writers selected for A Writing Chance 2024-25.

Each of the writers will receive a £2,000 bursary supported by a grant from the Charlotte Aitken Trust.

The writers began their year-long programme with a five-day residential writing retreat at Arvon’s writing house, The Hurst in Shropshire. Over 12 months, they will:

  • receive one-to-one mentoring
  • become part of a writers’ network
  • learn how the industry works at industry insight sessions with Audible, Faber & Faber, Daily Mirror, and Substack
  • make contacts
  • progress their work towards publication.

Each writer has been paired with both an industry mentor and one of four pastoral mentors – experienced writers, Clare Shaw, Richard Benson, Lynsey Rogers, and Katy Massey – who they will meet regularly over the next 12 months.

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A Writing Chance 2024-25: The Daily Mirror programme

  • Zainab Amer

    Zainab is a British-Egyptian writer originally from London and now residing in Manchester for the past seven years. She brings over a decade of experience in the NGO sector, where social justice and lived experiences remain core tenets of her work. With a deep passion for storytelling, she integrates her diverse identity shaped by British society and her vibrant Egyptian background. She hopes to use her array of experiences and learnings to elevate voices that often go unheard. 

    Zainab is mentored by Brian Reade, Daily Mirror columnist and author.

  • Emma Astra

    Emma Astra is from ‘Lesta’ as her working-class accent pronounces Leicester in the UK. Emma Astra has multiple disabilities from an intergenerational family who have struggled to survive. But those struggles have made her thrive. Emma is interested in real-life stories and issues, from the funny to the sad, believing in the principles of ‘Shared Struggles’ and ‘Sharing is Caring.’ When she’s not going on daily rants, Emma can be found watching too much TV and TikTok and is a great supporter of British soap operas, journalism/news and documentaries.

    Emma is mentored by Siobhan McNally, Daily Mirror columnist, writer and journalist.

  • Shivani Daxini

    Shivani is an anthropologist studying for her PhD. After a year of field work in India as part of this, she has started writing a series of fictionalised short stories inspired by her research as a way to create empathy and understanding amongst people. She has always enjoyed using writing as a way of encouraging ‘unlearning’ as well as learning- in terms of the ideas we hold about the world and each other. 

    Shivani is mentored by Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor.

  • Sunita Thind

    Sunita is a biracial, disabled, ovarian cancer survivor, writer, model with two poetry books published, NCJT-qualified freelance writer, journalist, singer, make up artist and memoirist.

    Sunita is mentored by Ros Wynne-Jones, Daily Mirror columnist.

A Writing Chance 2024-25: Faber & Faber programme

  • Jade Cuttle

    Jade Cuttle is a nature writer from Yorkshire and a BBC New Generation Thinker 2024. She’s writing a book called Silthood, a term she coined to explore ancient connections between soil and self. This narrative non-fiction with elements of memoir traces her journey through metal detecting, mudlarking and medieval re-enacting. Her novel-in-progress Soiled Hearts: A Fenland Saga reimagines the forgotten Viking raids that ravaged through Africa 859 CE inspired by her work as a professional historical reenactor: one of Britain’s first female warriors of colour. Her poetry is broadcast on the BBC and has won a Northern Writers Award.

     Jade is mentored by Laura Hassan, associate publisher at Faber & Faber.

  • Karrish Devan

    Karrish lives in East London and his writing explores the hidden histories of queer people of colour. He works as a psychotherapist, providing support to refugees and asylum seekers. His stories have been shortlisted for the #MerkyBooks prize, Creative Future Writing award and garnered full scholarships onto the Faber & Faber Writing course and HarperCollins Author Academy. He is currently completing a novel of literary fiction set in contemporary England. 

    Karrish is mentored by Jane Feaver, editor at large, poetry at Faber & Faber. 

  • Debora Maité

    Debora is a writer and filmmaker based in Scotland. Passionate about character-driven storytelling that elevates underrepresented perspectives, Debora crafts surreal scenarios to explore fundamental anxieties and vulnerabilities. She is an alumna of several writer development schemes such as Less Is More Residential, the Merky Books Award (Penguin Random House) and the Bloomsbury Mentorship Programme. Her film work has received support from the BFI Network and Screen Scotland and featured in international BIFA and BAFTA-qualifying festivals. 

    Debora is mentored by Hannah Knowles, publishing director at Faber & Faber.

  • Mie Murasa

    Mie Murasa is a British-Japanese student and writer, originally from South Yorkshire.
    Mie’s work is constantly inspired by the rich cultural scene and humour of the North, as well as her obsession with Taisho and Meiji Era Japanese Literature. As an admirer of storytelling in all its forms, Mie enjoys writing prose fiction, creative non-fiction and screenplays.
    Interested in intersectional identities, their current work in progress hopes to speak to the Asian experience in the UK and open up dialogue around being biracial. 

    Mie is mentored by Fiona Crosby, senior commissioning editor at Faber & Faber. 


  • Nosa Novia

    Nosa Novia was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the UK at the age of nine. She is a graduate of the University of Warwick and holds a BA(Hons) in Film and Literature and a MA, with distinction in both degrees. She is currently working on two novels, a historical fiction set in the Benin Kingdom and a dystopian, sci-fi novel set in West Africa. She is the founder of The Reclaim Collective CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to equipping poets from marginalised backgrounds. She spends her days off writing and pretending she knows how to bake. 

    Nosa is mentored by Mo Hafeez, commissioning editor at Faber & Faber.  

  • Janice Okoh

    Janice Okoh is a multi-award-winning British-Nigerian playwright and radio dramatist. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia, has worked as a Lecturer at Southampton University and, for seven years, as a banking paralegal in the city.  
    In 2023, Janice Okoh was awarded a Mary Prince Memorial Award from the Black Writer’s Guild for her novel-in-progress The Girl with the Light Eyes and was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Prize in the same year. She has also participated in the Thrive (Hachette) Grow Your Story Mentoring Programme and Harper Collins’ Author Academy. 

    Janice is mentored by Sara Helen Binney, crime editor at Faber & Faber

  • Micaela Ralph

    Micaela is an aspiring novelist born in Sydney, Australia, who now calls a crumbling creative warehouse in North London home. With a decade of designing graphic props for film and television behind her, she chose to pursue her true passion by earning an MA in Creative Writing, transforming her hobby into a career. Her writing explores themes of identity, grief, love, and revenge intertwining to create vivid queer-focused narratives. Through her work, she invites readers to journey with her through the complexities of the heart, mind and the human experience. 

    Micaela is mentored by Angus Cargill, publishing director at Faber & Faber.

  • Bonita Wileman

    Bonita Wileman is a Wales-based fiction writer with roots in both New Zealand and the UK. She studied her MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University and has since been developing a short story collection of queer women in strange worlds falling apart at the edges. Her literary interests are in the surreal, ghostly, provocative and saline, with an emphasis on the relationship between queerness and fluidity. She is a fan of jazz and handmade trinkets.

    Bonita is mentored by Aisling Brennan, fiction editor at Faber & Faber.

A Writing Chance 2024-25: Substack programme

  • Damian Kerlin

    Damian Kerlin is a culture journalist and broadcaster, with bylines in Attitude, The Telegraph, and The Independent. He also founded Substack, Material Queer, a celebration of queer culture. Damian hosts the Iris Prize podcast, Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and presents Monocle Radio’s Daily Briefing and Virgin Radio Pride.
    Damian was selected as one of three Acast Amplifiers for his LGBTQ+ docu-series podcast Memories from The Dancefloor which celebrates LGBTQ+ venues and shines a light on the history of these incredible spaces from the staff and patrons themselves. Released to critical acclaim, Season 2 is due out June 2024. 

    Damien writes the Substack Material Queer.

    Damien is mentored by Farrah Storr, head of writer partnerships at Substack.


  • Hattie Morrison

    Hattie Morrison is an award-winning writer and literary host from West Wales. In 2022, she was New Welsh Review’s ‘Young Welsh Writer of the Year’, and between 2022 and 2023 she was ‘Representing Wales’ for Literature Wales.  
    Her essays and narrative non-fiction have been published by The Guardian, Pitt Rivers Museum and Sticky Fingers Publishing. She has lead symposiums with Glasgow School of Art, Piet Zwart Institute, and the SVA, as well as hosted author interviews at Photoville in New York, Waterstones in London, Shakespeare & Co in Paris and The Island in Bristol. In early 2024, she completed a residency at Desperate Literature in Madrid. 

    Hattie writes the Substack (not) Writing with Hattie Morrison.

    Hattie is mentored by Emma Rowley, UK partnerships associate at Substack.

  • Matt Taylor

    Matt Taylor is an award-winning writer and music producer with a remarkable journey. Growing up in rowdy and unruly children’s homes, Matt found refuge in music and literature. His writing talent was first noticed when he won the Highly Commended Award in the Life Writing Prize 2021. Since then, he has gone to study for a master’s in creative writing at the University of Oxford while continuing to produce music. Matt also advocates for those from the care system, writing passionately about his experiences and challenges, to open up the creative industries to those with care-experienced or low-income backgrounds. 

    Matt writes the Substack Underclass Hero.

    Matt’s mentor is Jonn Elledge, author, New Statesman columnist and Substack writer.

  • Sophie Wren

    Sophie is a foraging teacher, writer, and apprentice to the greenwood. She is based in England’s wild north. Whether wandering the woodland or the realms of deep imagination, Sophie seeks out the magical and peculiar, from mushrooms and healing herbs to speculative worlds. Writing often about the unsung magic of the everyday, Sophie’s creative cauldron bubbles with nature writing, fantasy fiction and magical realism. She is currently working on a trilogy of fantasy novels, a collection of short stories, and a Substack about life in the woods. 

    Sophie’s mentor is Claire Venus, Substack writer and creative engagement consultant.