If you're an agent or editor who'd like to get in touch with any of the mentees, please email email@example.com
Cabbi Charles is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books. As well as gaining an All Stories mentorship, she is a Pathways Into Children’s Publishing (illustration) mentee. Her manuscript texts have won a GEA children’s novel award, and commended for the FAB Prize. Cabbi is a member of Megaphone Writers and SCBWI-BI where she has contributed illustrations to Words & Pictures articles.
Cabbi is currently working on contemporary middle grade stories combining low fantasy and adventure. She also writes, illustrates and publishes picture books featuring diverse characters. Cabbi’s latest picture book is Dion’s Sunshine Surprise.
Habon Jama is a writer from South London. She has a master's in children’s literature from Goldsmiths University. As a black Muslim woman, she is a passionate about representation in literature. She writes middle grade, young adult and short stories for adults. Her work has been awarded the Mo Siewcharran prize by Faber and longlisted for The New Writers prize by #Merkybooks Penguin and the V.S Pritchett Short Story Prize by The Royal Society of Literature. Recently she was shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize. In her free time, she enjoys painting and going for long walks.
Habon worked with editor Nicki Marshall on her YA novel following Somali teen Hani, who is an aspiring photographer. Hani uses her art to centre her community, who are pushed to the sidelines of British society. Set in Southeast London, this novel explores themes such as identity, belonging, friendship, family and pursuing one’s dreams despite adversity. A Voice in the Wind is an MG horror inspired by a Somali folktale called Dhegdheer. Pitch: Gamer girl Autumn’s slow summer turns into a terrifying ordeal when she’s sucked into a hellish alternate dimension to play a life-or-death game of hide-and-seek.
Jane Brydon was a pre-retiree. Having spent the last forty years supporting people with additional support needs and bringing up her own family she decided that life is too short to retire. Despite having a children’s story published in her local newspaper at the age of eleven, she has only recently embarked on a writing career. Last year she started a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing. Her short fiction has featured in a popular UK women’s magazine. Her debut children’s book was chosen for the 2022–2023 All Stories Mentorship Programme. She currently lives in Scotland with her husband. When she hasn’t got her head stuck in a book, she’s busy writing her own creations or walking the Scottish hills.
Jane is currently working on a lower middle grade fiction. After a freak storm capsizes their boat, Rosy May is separated from her dad. Alone and afraid, she is rescued by Theodore, the son of a mythical river god, and is led into a fictional underworld ruled by Poseidon. Here she learns that the Greek god is holding her dad captive. Determined to find him and set him free, she manages to make her escape with Theodore’s help, but soon they are battling against Poseidon’s anger and his army of vicious sea creatures, not only to save her dad, but also to prevent Poseidon’s plans to put more oil under the sea, risking the destruction of the marine life around her home.
Kenechi is a Nigerian-born London-based writer and architect whose work centres on culturally diverse characters, particularly female protagonists in sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres who stand strong in challenging conditions. Her debut YA sci-fi novel was the inaugural winner of Faber Children’s Imagined Futures Prize in 2023. Her work was awarded a Highly Commended Text win for FAB Prize 2022, and she is an alumna of the HarperCollins Author Academy Spring 2022 term. Her short story was longlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and her sci-fi short story was published in an issue of Dark Matter Magazine in 2022.
She loves singing with choirs, and hopes to one day figure out how to hibernate in winter.
Laura is a MG writer from Norfolk and grew up in a small village just outside Norwich. Nothing ever happened there, so a good imagination was essential for passing the time! She’s had a variety of jobs including one in a local school, where she fought a long battle against the terror that was the lost property cupboard. She was a winner of Undiscovered Voices 2020, and Hope Floats Like a Feather reached the final of Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award 2022.
Hope Floats Like a Feather (middle grade): When Mum is rushed into hospital, twelve-year-old Ada is taken to stay with the Gran. Stuck in a tower block flat with a grumpy gran she never knew existed, Ada begins to wonder. What happened to her family and why does nobody talk about it? Then, after rescuing an injured bird from the balcony, Ada stumbles upon something magical. The Bird Lady – facing eviction from her flat on the top floor, she sings opera to the birds and believes they are angels. She needs Ada’s help, but this strange woman is keeping secrets. With the help of her new friend Olaf, Ada begins to unravel a mystery that might just help her bring her own family back together.
Olivia La Bastide
Olivia La Bastide studied English Literature at Buckingham University and has gone on to receive scholarships for the HarperCollins’ Author Academy, WriteMentor’s WMLit, Curtis Brown Creative’s Breakthrough Novel Writing Course for Writers of Colour, and All Stories Mentorship. Her poetry was published by Oprelle in 2022, and she’s studied the art of storytelling and editorial with some of the industry’s leading professionals, including the Publishing Training Centre and the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, of which she is now a member and a qualified editor. Olivia is passionate about inspiring writers from underrepresented backgrounds to be confident to succeed despite their race, gender, or sexuality. Working as a teaching assistant, Olivia writes snippets of fiction on her phone in the staff room, dreaming of the day when she hasn’t been exhausted at school and can find time to break out her laptop.
How do you defeat a monster without becoming one yourself? YA supernatural thriller Crimson Fire would be Olivia’s debut novel and is the first in the series, planned for a minimum of three books, with a fresh and different magic system, diverse protagonists, cunning twists, and a new and provocative look at the typical disguised dystopia that she hopes will have readers examining their own sense of morality. Found family, equality and self-love are strong focus points within Crimson Fire, along with its enemies-to-lovers tension! It blends the otherworldly magic and intrigue of supernatural fantasy with the deadly reality of contemporary science, straddling both the science fiction and fantasy realms, lending itself to original and intricate worldbuilding.
Olivia-Savannah is a Black Jamaican-British writer who grew up in the Netherlands, lives in the UK, and did a year abroad in Australia. Writing international and diverse characters has always been important to her. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Warwick. She was longlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize in 2019, shortlisted for THRIVE Hachette's Grow Your Story programme in 2021 and 2022, and her poetry has been published in Moko Magazine. She works in publishing as a campaigns assistant at Canongate. She's also an active on booktube, bookstagram and booktok.
A Teacup of Tears is a young adult contemporary novel in verse best described as Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land meets Jion Sheibani’s The Silver Chain. When Kehlani discovers her mother has weeks left to live, she vows to see her one last time, set aside their arguments and come out to her. But with the half of Australia stretching between herself and her mother, and an empty bank account and a loan shark on her tail, the journey ahead looks bleak. Along the way she must learn to be honest, accept herself and accept love. If she doesn’t, she may miss her chance to speak her truth to the person she loves most.
Scar is an autistic queer writer based in Glasgow. They revised this novel through the All Stories programme under the mentorship of Catherine Coe. They have a Masters in Writing for TV and received a BAFTA scholarship, with mentorship from children’s TV showrunner Emma Reeves. Scar's debut short film played at BAFTA qualifying festivals, they’ve been in development schemes with the BFI, Sky, & the Royal Court, and their first play was commissioned by Birds of Paradise.
The Cost of Doing Magic: Enfys is an autistic twelve-year-old who copes with her irrational fear of losing a parent through superstition, baffling her Mum, a no-nonsense headmistress with no time for make-believe. When she meets Aisling, a strange fae girl who she feels an instant connection with, she forgets the cardinal rule of any fairytale: don't bargain with the fae. Aisling is an autumnal fae who spends half her time as a fox, but in all her five lifetimes, she’s never made her mother proud. Her mother, the Winter Queen, needs to possess a human, so she tricks Enfys into trading her mother for magic. With her mother possessed by the Queen, Enfys struggles to understand and control her new magic while working against their plans. She navigates the social minefield of new friends, survives the Queen’s neglect, and tries to save her favourite teachers, until her absent Dad wanders back into her life, putting himself in mortal danger.
Shuna is a neurodivergent, hearing impaired single mum from Sheffield. She has spent most of her life using the creative arts with young people and adults who have difficulty expressing themselves due to learning difficulties, language barriers, trauma, or just because they’ve been taught not to. She’s been a Drama Facilitator, Storyteller, Education Development Worker, and English Language Teacher, and is currently training to become a Play Therapist. Her own way of expressing herself has largely been through silly poems, until five years ago when she thought she’d try her hand at novel-writing, and in 2022, she completed the Golden Egg Academy Writing for Children and Young People 12-month course with the incredible Melissa Hyder as her editor.
The novel that Shuna’s been working on with her wonderful All Stories mentor, Genevieve Herr, is The Chrysalis Clan (working title) – a dual-narrative, middle grade fantasy, told by Zola and her friend Sam. The novel was longlisted for the New Writing North Hachette Children’s Novel Award 2022. It blends dark humour with rich fantasy and has at its heart a message about self-belief and acceptance.
Misfit orphan Zola wants one thing: To be special. Instead, she lives in a miserable children’s home, run by the terrifying Vulture. When she’s kidnapped and taken to the Chrysalis, an extraordinary secret underground citadel run by and for children, she gets everything she’s always wanted: Acceptance and, finally, people who believe she is special. But she discovers a darker side. Is someone harnessing the children's creativity and desperation for a darker purpose? Can Zola escape – and does she even want to?
Taslin Pollock is a British South Asian writer of Middle Grade fiction living in Central Scotland. She loves championing her culture and her heritage in her stories which are always full of heart and humour. The themes in her writing however, are universal. Usually focused on family and friendship, her stories will appeal to children everywhere. She has recently been shortlisted for the Searchlight 2022 Best Novel Opening Award and the Golden Egg Award 2022.
Jalebi Dreams (Bollywood meets Billy Elliot) is the Middle Grade story Taslin worked on with her mentor Emma Young. Sweet like Jalebi, twelve-year-old Farah dreams of becoming a ballerina but when she asks her Bapa for lessons, he refuses, worried his daughter will be treated unfairly because of her skin colour. Farah decides to follow her dreams and with the help of her Dadi Maa, secretly attends ballet lessons. When the Ballet School announces their annual choreography competition, Farah hopes that by bringing home a trophy, she will prove her Bapa wrong and overcome his prejudice, but when the competition clashes with prayers at mosque, she will need to come up with a plan to attend without getting caught.
Alison is based in Leicester and has wanted to be a writer since she realised that people wrote books – aged 4. She hasn’t stopped writing since her parents bought her a Petite typewriter for Christmas when she was 8, although other things have had to take priority, especially raising three children as a single parent.
The book Alison has been working on her mentor, Jenny Glencross, is The Mum Strike, a middle grade book which takes a comic look at Frankie’s life with his three talented sisters when he’s not really good at anything. Things take a turn for Frankie when his mum meets a new friend at pottery class and they decide to go on mum strike. For Frankie everything hinges on winning the school talent show with Amazing Performing Sausage – Frankie’s dog who won’t do what she’s told and the mum strike really gets in his way. Alison loves Frankie and he’s been insisting for a while that his story is told. She’s looking forward to his antics making young readers laugh.
After winning a newspaper writing competition aged eight, neurodivergent single parent Dawn Amesbury worked on her craft until, in 2021, she became an All Stories mentee. In 2022, thanks to her teen (11-13) historical mystery, Village of Spies, Dawn was longlisted for the Moniack Mhor Emerging Writer Award and shortlisted for the Wells Festival of Literature Children’s Novel Award. More recently, Dawn won two full scholarships to attend the 2022 SCBWI conference and the 2023 SCBWI writing retreat. She also gained a coveted place amongst the approved authors for the Oxford University Press.
Yorkshire, 1940. As Britain prepares for invasion, neurodivergent 14-year-old Connie loses her estranged dad at Dunkirk. But her risky plan to run away and escape the harmful village gossip is stalled when her grieving mum can’t cope. Then, lonely Connie makes two new friends: Freddie, who claims his brother was murdered, and Ingrid, a German-Jewish girl whose family suffers an anonymous hate crime. Murder-mystery-obsessed Connie agrees to help, although it’s soon clear she needs them as much as they need her. They discover the crimes are linked and there must be enemy traitors involved. Finally, the trail leads to a plot to destroy the nearby munitions factory. And when Ingrid’s parents are wrongly arrested, Connie and her friends must race to clear their names and avert disaster. But how, when the traitors could be anyone in their village?
Ikuko Ishiwaki is a Japanese writer living in London. “Writing for children is an extension of my fascination and appreciation of children,” she says. She would like to show there is an exciting world of different cultures and backgrounds out there and wonderful opportunities waiting for them. She writes picture books that include a little of her 'Japanese-ness' while tackling subjects that will engage readers. After Covid, she left her job in tourism and now has started a career in social care. Her mantra is write more and read more.
Ikuko is from Osaka, a city famous for its comedians, and this says a lot about her work – funny and quirky. She likes children to 'ooh' or 'aahh' when they read her stories, which she keeps short and simple. Her work includes a story about a cat’s ear, a child learning to ride a bike, a son of thunder, a cat who wants to have a dog’s tail, the adventure of a pencil, and more. She adored and still adores the Japanese author Miyako Matsutani, a prolific author who wrote board books to middle grade books. Her way of containing twists of Japanese folklore inspires her.
Hannah is a British-Nigerian writer of Young Adult fiction based in Glasgow with a particular love for queer fiction that centres Black and African characters. She’s been writing for as long as she’s been reading but didn’t discover nuanced Black stories in children's fiction until her late teens. Hannah is so glad to see an increase in representation in recent years and wants to be a part of it.
GUM is a young adult mystery novel about friendship, first love, and family secrets. Nellie’s best friend Gum is missing from their quiet suburb but when he sends her a cryptic clue, she sets off on a revelatory cross-country road trip to find him along with her ex-crush and Gum’s girlfriend who she just so happens to be in love with.
Jo is a working class mum-of-two based in North West England. She writes picture book texts (in rhyme and prose) and is also working on some illustrated non-fiction ideas for 7 to 11 year olds. Jo enjoys writing for primary age children because it’s a stage of life where anything is – or should be – possible.
Jo writes about weird, small, quirky things, usually in a humorous way. Sometimes she writes about themes of powerlessness and unfairness, and her stories often contain the message that it’s okay to be a bit different or do things a bit differently. Jo thinks that when your life is constrained for whatever reason, it can be liberating and empowering to behave in a surprising or transgressive way! In 2022 Jo’s picture book text A Lovely Fluffy Bunny Kind of Story won the Writing Magazine Picture Book Prize. She has also had other picture book texts shortlisted for the Salariya-Stratford Picture Book Prize, the Winchester Writers' Picture Book Prize and longlisted for the WriteMentor Picture Book Prize.
Lio Maddigan lives by the sea in Devon and works as a school librarian. They have always wanted to write for children and, as non-binary autistic person, they are especially keen to write #ownvoices stories about and for young people whose identities they share. Lio writes in a range of genres, including contemporary, mystery, fantasy, and adventure, from MG to Adult. Their work centres around themes of identity, family histories, memory, and mental health.
Nowhere Like Home (MG): Maisie and Dylan have both just moved to Dudwick, a rural Norfolk village full of folkloric history and hidden secrets. But for Maisie, she’s coming home. Now, she hopes, her life will return to how it used to be and her family will be whole again. But when, instead of her dad, she discovers Dylan living in her old house, she’s heartbroken and also confused: where is her dad? Why won’t anyone talk about him? Determined to find him, Maisie, her survival-obsessed brother Arthur, and shy Dylan band together to crack the mystery. Along the way, Dylan discovers a mystery of his own – his late mum had another child, long before he was born – but where is his lost sister now? Together, Maisie, Dylan and Arthur must unravel their family histories to find their missing family members.
Melissa Abraham is a London-based writer of Ghanaian heritage who writes fantastical picture books. She particularly enjoys writing picture books because it allows her to be wildly imaginative and eccentric. Melissa takes inspiration from many places, but especially references from family fantasy/adventure films from the 1980s where extraordinary things happen to ordinary people.
Melissa's picture books feature diverse human protagonists living in non-traditional family structures with adventure as one of the main themes. In 2021 Melissa was shortlisted for the FAB Prize and her debut picture book will be available in 2024.
Being mixed-race places you firmly in the middle; in the ‘other’. Childhood is hard enough, but when you look and feel different it can be a whole lot harder. Mitchell wants to write stories for anyone out there who feels like they don’t belong.
Mitchell is currently working on a middle grade fantasy story with a working title of Old World Magic, a British-mythology-inspired magical adventure set in North London. A young boy makes an eyelash wish which unleashes the fairy world on to an unsuspecting North London town. Can Charlie undo his wish and stop a war between the human world and the fairy one? He needs the help of his sister, best friend and a mysterious old woman who is older than the city they live in.
Reba Khatun is a forty-something British Muslim of Bangladeshi origin. She is the mother of two girls, librarian by day and aspiring children’s author by night. She has had a short story, poems and artwork published in various anthologies and in 2018 won the FAB Prize. In 2021 Reba was shortlisted for WriteNow and accepted on to the All Stories mentoring programme. She is currently querying her MG Bangladeshi horror story.
Reba has a story published in the Faber Book of Bedtime Stories (2022). She has two reading scheme books due to be published in 2024.
Rebecca Ferrier lives in Scotland, where she writes about difficult women, sickness and the sea. She began drafting her debut novel as part of the All Stories mentorship scheme (with Tilda Johnson as her mentor), which she then completed with funding from Creative Scotland. Rebecca was the winner of the 2020 Emerging Writer Award. Recently, she has been awarded a PhD studentship in Creative Writing at Northumbria University, and is also a member of the Death Writes network, supported by The University of Glasgow Arts Lab. She is represented by Alexander Cochran at C&W, part of The Curtis Brown Group. Find her as @rmlferrier across Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms.
Suad Kamardeen is a British-Nigerian Muslim writer, editor and photographer. She is a Founding Editor of WAYF Journal. Her young adult novel, Never Enough, won the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022, and her adult novel was shortlisted for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction 2021. Suad runs Qalb Writers Collective, a community to support Black and Muslim women writers with knowledge and resources. Suad is committed to documenting histories and cultures, as well as impacting people’s lives positively through storytelling. She is represented by Alice Lutyens of Curtis Brown Group. You can also find her at suadkamardeen.squarespace.com
Never Enough: Sumayya: she’s 16, she’s clever, she’s funny, and like most teenagers she just wants to fit in. But with her mum nagging her over wearing the hijab, her best friend ghosting her and her lechy ‘Uncle’ Mustapha refusing to leave her alone, it feels like everyone wants a version of her that she can’t live up to. A story of finding the way through Big Issues and coming out gloriously on the other side.
Tasmia Tahia is a British Bangladeshi poet, writer and theatre performer from London, UK. Her playwriting credits include “Nemesis 2 – The Gamechanger” (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019); “Hostile Environment” (Season of Bangla Drama 2019) and “Daal-Bhaat: Us Two Bengali Girls” (SOBD – Home Seasoning – 2020). Her poetry has previously been published in the Brown Girl magazine, and she was one of the 6 Poets in Residence at Bok Bok Books UK, working on the Sensing Bangladesh: A Children’s Guidebook to Art from Bangladesh project.
The intersectional mosaic of her identity inspires her work, with particular focus on gender, belonging, activism and mental wellbeing. Her YA novel-in-progress Up, Rising (which she calls #HashtagBook on Twitter) was one of the Highly Commended Winners at the FAB Prize 2021 and runner-up for the Golden Egg Award.
Up, Rising is Gossip Girl meets The Hate U Give, in a fictional contemporary South-Asian setting. Londoner Saliha, 17, can’t let go of the man who died holding her hand as violent riots engulf her trip to her grandmother’s ancestral home. But with vigilantes, opportunist politicians, dubious media, and anonymous tips from the mysteriously familiar blogger “Puppets Without Strings”, asking #WhoKilledMiraj may prove deadly, especially when online battles spill onto the roads.
Thomas Thomasson is a meditation workshop leader with a physical disability (cerebral palsy). He’s based in Essex and is writing a comedic middle grade adventure. Formerly a freelance actor with companies such as the Graeae Theatre Company, Thomas particularly enjoys creating characters – building their histories and exploring their attitudes. He finds that whether writing or reading, the right combination of words can completely transport, uplift and encourage him to keep moving forwards. He wants to do the same for others.
Thomas is writing an action adventure novel for children aged 8 to 10 years. Angry fruit, strange gadgets and 'Moo Jitsu' (the martial art style of Highland Cows) are all part of this story.
Alien tourist, Jut'za, knows that a good holiday on earth means doing lots of new things, like:
- Letting a duck drive you around in a stolen sports car
- Watching a pineapple walk
- Doing something about the grumpy lady with a flamethrower
But now he is stuck and home is 957 worlds away. Can the mysterious mallard in the Ferrari help Jut'za find a way back to his planet?
To learn more about Tom's workshops and services please see: www.ahoytherefun.wordpress.com
Check out his crowdfunding project regarding mindfulness and creativity.
Visit Tom's YouTube channel for tips on living with more joy and authenticity. Includes guided meditations and self-care ‘how to’ videos.
Tracy is a primary school teacher turned carer who lives by the sea in Cornwall. When she's not out running along the beach, you can find her curled up with a book or parenting her three children. Tracy runs a children's book review blog, The Breadcrumb Forest, and was recently appointed as Production Editor for SCBWI's Words & Pictures online magazine – a voluntary position she really enjoys.
Tracy writes picture books, series fiction and lower middle grade. Her debut picture book, Pumpkin's Fairytale, was published by small indie publisher Final Chapter in September 2021, which she has enjoyed sharing with local schools. In 2019, Tracy was shortlisted for Writing Magazine's Picture Book Prize. She has also been longlisted or shortlisted for WriteMentor's Children's Novel Award 2020, 2021 and 2022 and Guppy Publishing's MG competition 2021. Tracy has the following projects ready for submission:
Unicorns in Uniforms: Five emergency service unicorns protect the Sunshine Realm.
The Gingerbread House: Stale Sale: The three little pigs buy the Gingerbread House.
How Not to Share Pizza: A river otter and an alligator struggle to share a pizza equally.
Click the links below to download pdfs of the evaluation reports for the previous All Stories programmes.