Naomi Alderman Named as Margaret Atwood’s Protégé

19th Jun 2012


If you were a young writer what would be your first wish? How about Margaret Atwood as a mentor and $50,000 for the year? The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative  pairs up respected giants in their field with practitioners in the early stages of their career. Past mentors include Toni Morrison, Martin Scorsese and David Hockney.

For this year’s prize, a shortlist of four writers were chosen and flown out to Toronto to meet with Atwood who then re-read their work made her final choice.

Atwood explained that her decision was based on a few principles; which one of the four would be most likely to gain something from her given the kind of work they do? And who is at the right stage in their career to have a useful exchange with her?

She chose Naomi Alderman, who has written three books of brilliant literary fiction (the kind of books which win multiple awards and get serialised on Radio 4): Disobedience, The Lessons and The Liars’ Gospel (out in August).

Alderman is endlessly (and divergently) talented. She also created the Zombie’s Run project (to listen to on your phone as you run), penned a Dr Who spin-off book, the immersive computer game Perplex City and occasionally dabbles in academic debates on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

We can’t wait to see what a year working with Margaret Atwood will generate…

Who would be your ultimate writing mentor?

Mekella Broomberg

Photo ©Rolex/Bart Michiels