Mentoring: Our 2017 Mentors

Matching four writers with four experienced mentors, our mentoring programme aims to help professionals expand into new areas, make creative breakthroughs and prepare for new challenges.

Discover our 2017 mentees and meet their mentors below.


Sophy Dale Portrait
Sophy Dale | Mentoring Angela Jackson

Sophy Dale is a writer, editor, coach and mentor based in a small Scottish seaside town just outside Edinburgh. She has worked with a huge range of writers, including Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin, Janice Galloway, Ali Smith, John Burnside, Jackie Kay and Naomi Alderman. She’s worked for publishers, including Canongate Books and Frances Lincoln, for Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Poetry Library and has run the BBC Short Story Award. Along with the novelist Alan Warner, Sophy set up Long Lunch Press, which published Irvine Welsh, James Meek, Elizabeth Reeder and Jen Hadfield. Four years ago she set up Spark for Writers - a mentoring and editing service for writers.

Sophie says:

“When SBT sent me a sample of Angela's writing, I loved it, so I'm really looking forward to working with her. That ‘difficult second novel’ syndrome is all too common amongst writers, so we'll be getting our teeth into how to get past the blocks that can come up at this stage in a writing career.”


Claire Wingfield Portrait
Claire Wingfield | Mentoring Geoff Barker

Claire Wingfield is an editor and literary consultant and author of the creative writing handbook 52 Dates for Writers – Ride a Tandem, Assume an Alias and 50 Other Ways to Improve Your Novel Draft. She runs the Complete Book Marketing Toolkit to help writers organize their promotional activity and The Submissions Bootcamp, which offers ongoing support as writers submit their manuscripts to publishers and agents. Claire is a partner member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and a member of the Society of Authors. She blogs about writing and publishing and has been known to run the odd book giveaway.

 Claire says:

I am thrilled to be mentoring Geoff. A time of literary adventure and exploration awaits!”



Pamela Butchart Portrait
Pamela Butchart | Mentoring William Goldsmith

Pamela Butchart is an award-winning children's author and philosophy teacher. Pamela lives in Dundee with her husband, Andy, and their two awesome cats, Bear and Carlos. Pamela writes picture books, young fiction and middle grade. In 2015, The Spy Who Loved School Dinners won the Blue Peter Best Story Award. My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat! won the Children's Book Award 2016. Pamela has had sixteen books published with Bloomsbury and Nosy Crow since 2014, and her work has been translated into over ten languages and published around the world. Pamela recently received an Honorary Doctorate Degree for her work as a children's author and teacher. Some of her pupils now choose to call her Dr Butchart (even though they laugh a bit too much when they say it). 

 Pamela says:

"I'm really looking forward to being a mentor. William is an engaging, fresh and contemporary new voice in children's literature. I'm excited about this book."


Kapka Kassabova Portrait
Kapka Kassabova | Mentoring Catherine Simpson

Kapka Kassabova was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, and educated at the French College in Sofia. Her family emigrated to New Zealand after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She spent her late teens and twenties in New Zealand, where she studied French Literature and published two poetry collections and the Commonwealth Writers Prize-winner for debut fiction in Asia-Pacific, Reconnaissance

In 2005, Kapka moved to Edinburgh and wrote the childhood memoir Street Without a Name (2008), short-listed for the Dolman Travel Book Award. Her music biography Twelve Minutes of Love, a tango story (2011), was short-listed for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards. She has written for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, Vogue, The Sunday Times, The Scottish Review of Books, 1843 Magazine, and The New Statesman. Her latest poetry collections are Someone else's life (2003) and Geography for the Lost (2007). Her poetry has been widely anthologised in New Zealand and the UK.

Border: a journey to the edge of Europe (2017) was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. It is an exploration of the easternmost corner of Europe where the iron curtain formerly passed and where cultures converged and clashed.  It is also a meditation on the borderlines that exist between countries, cultures, people, and how they shape human destinies. 

Kapka Kassabova lives in Inverness-shire.

Kapka says:

“I am delighted to be working with Catherine Simpson on her family memoir. It will be a pleasure to work with a writer as self-possessed and lucid as she is a skilled prose writer.”

Kapka Kassabova photo credit Marti Friedlander