Poetry London Mentoring Scheme


We’re thrilled to announce that the four writers selected for the 2020 Poetry London Mentoring Scheme are:

Janine Bradbury
Miruna Fulgeanu
Carlos Mauricio Rojas
Jemilea Wisdom-Baako

Each writer will receive a year’s mentoring support from one of the leading lights of UK poetry.

Janine Bradbury will be mentored by Rachel Long
Miruna Fulgeanu will be mentored by Wayne Holloway-Smith
Carlos Mauricio Rojas will be mentored by Vahni Capildeo
Jemilea Wisdom-Baako will be mentored by Mimi Khalvati

We'd also like to congratulate the ten brilliant shortlisted writers:

Oshanti Ahmed, Ishwari Bhalerao, Courtney Conrad, Ruby Fatimilehin, Kaycee Hill, Karl Knights, Rachel Leung, Rachel Lewis, Cynthia Miller and Janel Pineda


Janine Bradbury is a writer and academic. She grew up near Croydon, South London and lives and works in Yorkshire where she teaches part-time at York St John University. Her critical work has been published by Bloomsbury, Palgrave, and the Guardian. She is a new poet.

She writes, 'I still can't believe that I have been selected to participate in the Poetry London Mentoring Scheme — it has been the best and most welcome news. The mentorship on offer is incredible and I’m completely thrilled to be working with Rachel Long over the next year. I am so looking forward to our conversations and benefiting from Rachel’s invaluable time and insight as I develop my practice.'


Miruna Fulgeanu is a Romanian-born poet and translator living in London. She has recently completed an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College. Her work has appeared in Poetry London, Pain and The Rialto, among others. 

She writes, 'I am delighted and thankful to be among the four poets accepted onto the mentorship scheme – and particularly grateful to Poetry London for offering this opportunity. I can’t wait to work with Wayne Holloway-Smith, whose poetry I’ve admired for years. I’m hoping to use his guidance and my year on the scheme to put together my first collection.'


Carlos Mauricio Rojas is a poet whose work talks about British and Colombian nationality, and mixed race and queer non-binary identity. They are a member of the Invisible Presence Programme for British and LatinX writers, founder of the PAOSAR poetry event, and co-founder of Maricumbia, an LGBTQIA+ LatinX party. They have performed at the Roundhouse and Bare Lit Festival at The Albany theatre. Carlos is currently working on their first self-published chapbook.

They write, 'I was beginning to believe that the poetry I was writing had no place or worth. Being accepted onto the scheme makes me feel so happy, validated, and privileged. That feeling of knowing there are people who believe in your work and want to elevate it is rewarding. This a new opportunity for me to better my practice. I’m so grateful for being accepted onto this mentorship, and excited to meet and work with Vahni Capildeo and my new peers.'


Jemilea Wisdom-Baako is a British-Jamaican poet. A London Writers Award recipient, she was also shortlisted for the Rebecca Swift Women's Poetry Prize. Her work appears in Magma, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Good Journal, and elsewhere. She runs the arts company Writerz and Scribez CIC and is currently working on her first pamphlet. 

She writes, 'I am thrilled to be accepted for the Poetry Mentoring Scheme; this is a huge boost to my confidence. At this stage in my journey, I am excited to be working on my first collection with the guidance of Mimi Khalvati who I'm sure will push me, challenge me, and propel my work forward. I hope that this year will be instrumental to my writing practice. It is an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to begin.'


RACHEL LONG is a poet and the founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, which is housed at the Southbank Centre in London. My Darling from the Lions, her debut collection, is shortlisted for the 2020 Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and is forthcoming from Picador, in July 2020. (Photo credit: Amaal Said)

VAHNI CAPILDEO FRSL is Writer in Residence at the University of York and an outgoing Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast. Their work ranges from poetry to non-fiction to immersive theatre, and has been recognized with awards including the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection and the Cholmondeley Award. Current projects include 'Active Silence' from York, a collaboration with Trinidadian artist Andre Bagoo to accompany Capildeo’s pamphlet of expanded translations, and ‘Savannah Sequences’, a record of walks, developed while Writer in Residence at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. Capildeo’s publications include Odyssey Calling (Sad Press, 2020) and Skin Can Hold (Carcanet, 2019),written thanks to a Douglas Caster Fellowship at the University of Leeds.
WAYNE HOLLOWAY-SMITH’s debut collection of poetry, Alarum, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2017, was shortlisted for the Roehampton Prize and was a Guest Selection for the Poetry Book Society. He won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize 2016. His non-linear sequence, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WENDING, was published by Test Centre in 2018. He won the National Poetry Competition 2018 for his poem ‘The posh mums are boxing in the square’. His second collection, Love Minus Love, will be published by Bloodaxe in 2020.
MIMI KHALVATI has published eight collections with Carcanet Press, including Child: New & Selected Poems, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. She has received a Cholmondeley Award and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of The English Society. Her most recent collection, Afterwardness, is a Poetry Book Society Wild Card and Book of the Year in The Sunday Times and The Guardian.
Generously funded by the Garrick Charitable Trust and Arts Council England, with an individual donation from Mali Morris.