‘Putting Pen to Paper’ – with Kenya Hunt, Dorothy Koomson, Mireille Harper + Viola Hayden

Putting Pen To Paper

Event details

Tuesday 20th Jul 2021


If you’re a writer with a story inside you, watch our Women’s Prize × Grazia First Chapter competition judges and fellow industry experts as they give insight and advice for starting your writing journey, and enjoying every step of the way.

Kenya Hunt, Deputy Editor of Grazia UK and 2021 First Chapter judge, will chair our panellists: global bestselling author Dorothy Koomson, our 2021 First Chapter judge and mentor; editor/writer Mireille Harper and literary agent Viola Hayden.

They discussed: what it takes to start a literary career; the importance of mentoring, peer support and community; and their best advice for integrating writing into your daily life – plus you will have the opportunity to ask them your own questions. 

Dorothy also revealed our winner Naomi George, and runners-up Savitri Patel and Imogen Tazzyman, of our eleventh annual Women’s Prize × Grazia First Chapter Competition, selected from hundreds of entries.

Watch the event on catch-up here:

The speakers:

Kenya Hunt (Chair) is the Deputy Editor of Grazia UK. Her career spans working for some of the world’s most influential women’s titles on both sides of the Atlantic. As the founder of R.O.O.M. Mentoring, she advocates for greater diversity within the fashion industry by providing a supportive network for aspiring designers, journalists and image makers of colour. Her critically-acclaimed book, Girl: Essays on Black Womanhood (HarperCollins/HQ), is out now.

Dorothy Koomson is an award-winning, global bestselling author of 16 Sunday Times bestsellers. She was featured on the 2021 Powerlist as one of the most influential Black people in Britain and appeared in GQ Style as a Black British trailblazer. Dorothy uses her platform to support new writers and recently launched The Happy Author podcast. Her latest book I Know What You’ve Done (Headline) was published in July.

Mireille Harper is an editor at Square Peg, Vintage (Penguin Random House UK). Outside of her role, Mireille works as a freelance writer, sensitivity reader and PR and comms consultant working with grassroots arts and culture organisations, black-owned businesses and black creatives. Mireille also mentors students looking to get into the publishing industry and offers editorial advice to aspiring writers.

Viola Hayden is an Associate Agent at Curtis Brown, and spent the previous six years as an editor. She is actively building her own list of commercial and reading group fiction, narrative non-fiction and some memoir. She was also part of the team which delivered Discoveries 2021, the Women’s Prize Trust’s writing development programme.


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