Impact case study: Tammie Ash
“As someone who has had very little validation for their writing throughout their life, this was a huge confidence boost for me. Without this foot into the industry, I would never have pursued writing professionally and it would’ve forever stayed an unlocked potential.”
Tammie Ash, A Writing Chance 2021-22
A Writing Chance opened in February 2021 to new and aspiring storytellers from under-represented backgrounds based across the UK and continued until March 2022. We sought fresh perspectives and great stories from people whose voices have historically not been heard in publishing and the media. This unique and ambitious programme was run in partnership with Michael Sheen and the Joseph Roundtree Foundation, with further support from the Mirror and New Statesman.
11 writers were selected for the programme, receiving bursaries, long-term mentoring, professional development sessions and peer support. The work they developed was selected for publication in the New Statesman and the Mirror, performed at special live events and platformed in a Michael Sheen-hosted podcast series on BBC Sounds.
Tammie Ash worked closely with her New Statesman mentor, Anoosh Chakelian, developing her original ideas into journalism pieces and learning about the wider industry. It was a joy to work with Tammie who is always receptive to feedback and brings a fresh and important perspective to her writing. She has an exciting future ahead of her.
New Writing North introduced me to a new industry
“A Writing Chance introduced me to an entire industry that I was oblivious to before. I knew people wrote books and that journalists wrote articles but that was the extent of my knowledge. I always thought that you can only get into the industry if your dad knows the editor of a magazine.
Initially, I expected to receive a bursary and have an article published through the scheme, but to then leave and have it as an amazing one-off achievement on my CV. I didn’t expect to have such an amazing mentorship, have two articles published and a podcast episode released, and to be so well supported throughout the scheme and after.
The New Writing North team are exceptionally supportive and sensitive. This is a team that genuinely care about the programme, its participants and what it stands for. There are big name, well-funded organisations and companies out there that open up schemes for under-represented applicants, but then leave them hanging afterwards because they’ve hit their diversity quota and that’s their bit done. New Writing North couldn’t be further from this.
The team have really fought for us and listened to us throughout. They’ve checked in on us and we’ve had regular meetings. I’ve been lucky enough to have had my mentorship extended so I’ve felt really well supported throughout. I’ve already gained my first paid article commission outside of the scheme which is testament to how great my mentor is, and I’ve started writing fiction which I never thought I’d be good enough to do.
Aside from the knowledge, contacts and support, A Writing Chance has given me confidence in my writing. As someone who has had very little validation for their writing throughout their life, this was a huge confidence boost for me. Without this foot into the industry, I would never have pursued writing professionally and it would’ve forever stayed an unlocked potential.”
Tammie Ash, 2022
“Over the year that I’ve been mentoring Tammie Ash through the A Writing Chance scheme, I have learned so much about her ambitions, current work, career history, view of the world and approach to writing that it has been as much of a learning experience for me as I hope it has been for her. I really value her questions about journalism as an industry, as they remind me what an opaque and whimsical industry it can appear to those trying to break in – an important thing to remember when aiming to amplify writers from backgrounds not traditionally represented in the media. It has also been a deeply rewarding mentoring experience, as Tammie is quick to absorb and implement feedback and endlessly curious and enthusiastic about her future writing career.”
Anoosh Chakelian, Tammie’s mentor
Tammie Ash hails from Bradford, West Yorkshire and studied Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Leeds, graduating in 2017. She worked as a civil engineer before changing career to work in factual TV on shows for the BBC and Channel 4. She has also written for The New Statesman, The Mirror and Business Insider as a freelance writer.