Scottish Book Trust Announces New Mentoring Programme Intake

Scottish Book Trust Announces New Mentoring Programme Intake
Category: Press Releases

Scottish Book Trust is delighted to announce the names of the four published writers who will receive intensive support with their current project from a dedicated and experienced mentor.

The mentoring programme provides writers with a sustained period of support devoted to a particular writing project. Writers have completed at least two-thirds of their manuscript and reached a point where they feel further support will be helpful. The writers and mentors are:

  • Writer Geoff Barker, based in Fife, is the author of more than 40 non-fiction books for children and has now turned his attention to writing fiction for children. His current project, On the Run, is a comic caper for 8–12 year olds. He will be supported by Literary Consultant Claire Wingfield, based in Dunfermline.
  • Writer and illustratorWilliam Goldsmith, based in Glasgow, is the author of two graphic novels published by Jonathan Cape. He is writing and illustrating a chapter book for 9-12 year olds and will be mentored by children’s author Pamela Butchartfrom Dundee.
  • Edinburgh-based writer Angela Jacksonis working on her second novel, The Darlings, about how childhood experiences can affect how we behave as adults. Angela has been partnered with writer and editor Sophy Dale who lives near Edinburgh.
  • Novelist and short story writer Catherine Simpson, based near Edinburgh, is writing a memoir called When I had a Little Sister. Catherine has been paired with poet and author  Kapka Kassabova who lives in the Highlands.

Mentoring supports established writers to make difficult transitions, achieve significant breakthroughs and overcome challenges. It can help writers who are looking to approach new subject areas and genres, grow artistically, and develop professionally.

Among those who took part last year were novelist Catherine Hokin, who was working on her second book and was mentored by novelist Sara Sheridan.

Catherine said: “Having an engaged, critical mentor, who has pushed me to recognise both the strengths and weaknesses in the writing, has meant it is now almost at an agent-ready stage, bar the last polishings.”

Sara added: “Writing is a strange kind of career and the only people who really understand it are other writers.”

Poet and novelist Mandy Haggith also took part last year. She wanted to learn about writing for radio and was mentored by David Neville, a writer and radio drama producer for BBC Scotland.

Mandy said: “It is really encouraging and helpful to have someone to bounce these ideas around with and David has heaps of experience in recognising what could make a good drama. With David’s guidance I feel as if I am being shown around an unfamiliar city by a friendly local, which means I can explore this new territory without having to worry about getting mugged or lost in the back streets.”

David added: “The exciting thing about mentoring and being a mentor is that you are beginning the adventure with a partner. For me as a mentor, as I facilitate Mandy’s developing skills as a dramatist, I will also be re-examining my own understanding of how drama works.”

Caitrin Armstrong, Head of Writer Development at Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Congratulations to Geoff Barker, William Goldsmith, Angela Jackson and Catherine Simpson for being selected for Scottish Book Trust’s 2017 Mentoring Programme. We have one author working on a novel, one working on a memoir and two authors working on novels for children. Mentoring has many short and long term benefits and pairing these professional writers with the right mentors will hopefully allow them to grow artistically and develop professionally.

“Our Mentoring Programme has delivered great results in the past. We look forward to keeping abreast of the developments of this year’s four writers over the next nine months and wish them all the very best.”

Geoff Barker said: “I always suspected that my transition from non-fiction to children's fiction writer would benefit from the help of a mentor. But this was just the best surprise. To receive this support from the Scottish Book Trust – and to be paired with literary consultant Claire Wingfield – is immeasurable.”

William Goldsmith said: “This is a completely new way of working for me, and I’m very grateful that the Scottish Book Trust have supported me in this venture by providing the expert eye of a mentor. I’m really looking forward to working with a brilliant storyteller in Pamela.”

Angela Jackson said: It’s easy to feel you’re struggling uphill alone when the pressure is on to produce a second novel, even if you have the support of other writers, so I am enormously grateful to Scottish Book Trust for selecting me to receive this mentorship. I plan to submit The Darlings this year, and am so excited that I’ll be able to do what it takes to complete it with the help and support of Sophy Dale.”

Catherine Simpson said: “‘I’m delighted to be accepted onto Scottish Book Trust’s mentoring programme. I am writing a memoir that explores difficult subject matter and to have an experienced memoirist to discuss it with will be invaluable. Kapka Kassabova writes with clarity and a dry humour and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with her.”

The judging panel for the Mentoring programme was: Will Mackie (Mentoring Project Manager, Scottish Book Trust), Doug Johnstone (author of The Jump), Jan Rutherford (Publicity and the Printed Word) and Lynsey Rogers (Writer Development Co-ordinator, Scottish Book Trust).

Scottish Book Trust’s Writer Development Teamnurtures Scotland’s writing talent with bursaries, mentoring and professional development to ensure that creative opportunities are open to people of all backgrounds, and promotes Scottish literature worldwide.


For all media enquiries please contact Lindsay Clydesdale, Media and PR Manager at Scottish Book Trust on 0131 524 0175 or

Images are available on request.


Notes to Editors:


Angela Jackson biography
Angela Jackson was named one of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature’s emerging writers in 2010, and again in 2011. She was invited to read from her debut novel, The Emergence of Judy Taylor, at Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2010, as part of the Story Shop programme. In November of the same year, she accepted an award from Bidisha at Oxford Union for her short story, ‘Poker Face’. The following year, she was invited to read at Edinburgh Book Festival again. And in 2013, she was named overall winner of Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award. The Emergence of Judy Taylor, published by Constable and Robinson, was also selected as Edinburgh Waterstones Scottish Book of The Year 2013, and Angela was named an Amazon Rising Star.
After taking time out to do an MSc in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University and an MA in Scriptwriting at Salford, Angela is currently editing her second novel, The Darlings, and writing a one-woman show that she will perform at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Waterstones venue. The show ( comprises three monologues based on characters from both her first and second novels. Angela also runs a local writing group, and creates and delivers short courses and workshops in Psychology at Edinburgh University. She lives in Edinburgh with her family and two cats.

Catherine Simpson biography

Catherine Simpson’s debut novel Truestory was published by Sandstone Press in 2015. It tells the story of a mother raising a child with autism and was inspired by Catherine’s experience of raising her own autistic daughter, Nina. Catherine received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013. Her work has been included in New Writing Scotland, Gutter, New Writing Dundee, The Grind, The Scotsman, Edinburgh University’s ‘Dangerous Women’ project and the ‘Journeys’ and ‘Family Legends’ anthologies produced by Scottish Book Trust. Her story ‘Giuseppe and Rosa go up in the World’ will be turned into a podcast as part of the ‘Echoes of the City’ project.

She has been shortlisted in the Bloody Scotland Short Story competition, the Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition, and the Asham Award. She performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Story Shop in 2012 and 2013, and in Unbound, 2016. She has also performed at Aye Write, Dundee Lit Fest, Pitlochry and Portobello Book Festivals. She is 2017 Coastword Festival Writer in Residence and the current Tyne & Esk Writers Creative Writing Fellow. She recently received a Hawthornden Fellowship. Catherine mentored two young writers in Scottish Book Trust’s ‘What’s Your Story?’ writing development project for teens.

William Goldsmith biography

William Goldsmith studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art, and his comics have since appeared in a range of publications and exhibitions, both in the UK and overseas. Published by Jonathan Cape, his graphic novels include The Bind and Vignettes of Ystov, which was nominated for a Newton First Book Award at Edinburgh Book Festival. He has also illustrated John Muir – Earth, Planet, Universe, a graphic novel biography of John Muir, written by Julie Bertagna and published by Scottish Book Trust.

William recently worked with the Goethe Institut in Glasgow and Stockholm, on a series of comics tackling the rise of nationalism in Europe. He was awarded a residency in Brussels with literary house Pasa Porta, and was included in Canongate’s list of Top 40 Future Storytellers working in Scotland.

Geoff Barker biography

Geoff Barker is the author of The Shang Dynasty of Ancient Chinaand Jack the Ripper, and has written another 40 non-fiction books. As a Consultant Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund, he delivers workshops in schools and universities to help pupils, students and staff with their writing. Geoff is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Southeast Scotland: he runs the Middle Grade/Young Adult critique group in Fife. He also founded the creative writing group 'Write Up Your Street' in 2013, based in Anstruther, Fife.

In 2014, he received an award from Emergents/Fraser Ross Associates for 'Today's Writers for Today's Children' for his first novel, 'The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Monkey' (inspired by his younger daughter's favourite soft toy vanishing without a trace). Although he has written on all sorts of fascinating topics, such as rockets, monster trucks, fast cars and raspberry trifles, he believes the real joy is to be found sitting in his shed all day conjuring up strange stories for children about fictitious animal characters. His current work-in-progress, On the Run, is a comic caper for 8–12 year olds and marks his transition from non-fiction writer to children's fiction writer.

Scottish Book Trust:

  • Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. Scottish Book Trust believes that books and reading have the power to change lives. As a national charity, we inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure.
  • We give free books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • We work with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classrooms activities, book awards and author events programme.
  • We support Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities
  • We fund a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promote Scottish writing to people worldwide   @scottishbktrust