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2018 Apprentices

Word Factory is delighted to announce four new apprentices for 2018, welcomed by Director Cathy Galvin at a packed salon with Deborah Levy and Cynan Jones at Waterstones Piccadilly on June 16th. This year Word Factory is also proud to be working with New Writing North and the Northern Writers’ Awards to support our first northern mentee.

Each Apprentice will receive a year’s free access to all Word Factory events and masterclasses with leading authors, career development and industry support, as well as intensive mentoring from celebrated writers. They will also receive free membership to the writers’s union, The Society of Authors. They will be mentored by Courttia Newland, Jenn Ashworth, K.J Orr and Tom Lee.

The 2018 Word Factory Mentors

The award is the brain-child of Word Factory’s associate director, Paul McVeigh and founder and director Cathy Galvin, both sharing working-class backgrounds and a passion for the transformative power of literature.

The winners will join the Word Factory team in an exciting year in which writers will be encouraged to explore the boundaries of the short story form. Galvin’s artistic programme of readings, debates and special events focussed on The Changemakers, will run throughout 2018 and into 2019 and has attracted the support of partners including Arts Council England, Waterstones, New Writing North, The Society of Authors, Tara Arts Theatre, the Charles Causley Festival — and resulted in a new acclaimed Word Factory publishing imprint of illustrated short story pamphlets, The Guillemot Factory.

“Publishers are now making more determined steps to seek a diverse range of writers for their lists: they really do not have to look very far. It has never been more vital that talented British writers from every community are encouraged to find their voices, to innovate within fiction and with other art forms, and to understand the power and responsibility of language and of good writing, “ said Galvin. “ Our wonderful new apprentices are joining us in an exciting year when we will be inspiring new work that relates directly to the language of our times.”


Georgina Aboud photo - Word Factory

Georgina Aboud

Georgina Aboud lives in Brighton, where she works as a freelance researcher and writer. She has an MA in Development Studies and a Certificate in Creative Writing. Much of her working life has been spent in international development focusing on gender, climate change and food security. She has also worked as a carer, a TV and film extra and a dog sitter. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel, and is the 2017 winner of the Moth Short Story Award.

Natalia Theodoridou photo - Word Factory

Natalia Theodoridou

Natalia Theodoridou is a media & cultural studies scholar and a writer of strange stories. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, The Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter, Neon, Litro, and elsewhere. She is also the dramaturge of Adrift Performance Makers (@AdriftPM), with whom she experiments with interactive fiction and immersive, digital performance. Natalia was shortlisted for the 2018 New Media Writing Prize. Originally from Greece, she has lived in Chicago, London and Portsmouth, and Bali. She now lives in Devon.

Farhana Khalique photo - Word Factory

Farhana Khalique

Farhana Khalique is a teacher, voiceover and writer from south west London. Her short stories have appeared in various publications, including the Dividing Lines (2017) and City of Stories (2017) anthologies, and she was recently shortlisted for The Asian Writer Short Story Prize 2018. Her next story will appear in the first issue of The Good Journal.

Sharon Telfer photo - Word Factory

Sharon Telfer

Sharon Telfer grew up on Teesside and lives in East Yorkshire. She worked in charity communications for many years and is now a freelance editor. Her creative writing took off in 2015 when she discovered flash fiction. Her flash fiction has won prizes, including the Bath Flash Fiction Award. She’s one of the editing team at FlashBack Fiction, an online litmag focused on historical flash fiction. Her stories often have a loose historical setting and she is influenced by magical realism and fairytale: the collision of the strange and the everyday. She’s looking forward to using her Apprenticeship to develop her understanding of the distinct demands of short stories and to meet other writers who love the form.

Stephanie Scott photo - Word Factory

Commended – Stephanie Scott

Stephanie Scott was born and raised in Singapore. She read English Literature at York, Cambridge and Oxford and worked in Investment Banking in New York, London and Rome before leaving finance to write full time. Her debut novel, The Sentence, is set in modern Japan and Stephanie has been awarded the BAJS Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on Japan as well as the Arvon Jerwood Prize for Literature, the Writer’s Centre Norwich Inspires Award and runner up in the Bridport Peggy Chapman First Novel Award for her novel in manuscript form.

So far, Stephanie’s short fiction has focused on South East Asia where she grew up. Her stories, poetry and flash fiction have been published in Mslexia, the Fish Prize Anthology and the London Short Story Prize Anthology and shortlisted for the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Prize and the Bridport Prize on several occasions.

Emily Ford photo - Word Factory

Commended — Emily Ford

Emily Ruth Ford is a writer and translator living in North London. She has a degree in English from Oxford University and spent ten years as a journalist for The Times and Agence France-Presse, with postings in China and India. In 2016 she returned to the UK to study on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She won the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize 2017 and was long-listed for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2018. She speaks Italian and Mandarin, and is currently at work on her first novel.

Trusted relationships are vital to the development of a writer. Our former apprentices—Avani Shah, Melissa Fu, Durre Shower, Fergus Evans, Rebecca Swirsky, Holly Dawson, Kerstin Twatchmann, Uschi Gatward, Claire Adam, Divya Ghelani and Emily Devane—have all become members of the Word Factory team, winning awards and being published in leading magazines and journals.

Claire Adam’s debut novel, GOLDEN CHILD, will be published in January 2019 by Faber & Faber in the UK/Commonwealth, and by Hogarth in USA/Canada. Set in Trinidad, it’s a story about fatherhood and family, about betrayal, love and impossible choices.

  The Word Factory Apprenticeship was a huge boost, and it came at a time when I really needed it. It brought me into contact with other writers who were at a similar stage to me, which was wonderful for the sense of camaraderie, and also a sense of validation, i.e. not feeling like I was the lone crazy fool who had decided to dedicate so many years to this unprofitable endeavour! And my mentor, Jacob Ross, was also a massive help, not only in terms of the encouragement he gave me, but also on the nuts-and-bolts on the writing side: he helped me untangle the problems I was having with my novel's structure, for example, and helped me move past a bottleneck I'd been stuck on for months. Also, both Jacob and I are from the Caribbean, and it was very useful to be able to discuss Caribbean literature side by side with literature from other countries.
Claire Adam, 2016 Apprentice. Debut novel to be published by Faber.

Many Thanks

Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our scheme to date: and most particularly our previous mentors Nikesh Shukla, Alexei Sayle, Zoe Gilbert, Jarred McGinnis, Adam Marek, Stella Duffy, Alex Preston and Nicholas Royle, Jacob Ross, Vanessa Gebbie and Professor Ailsa Cox.