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St Mary’s Alumna on Bookseller Rising Star List

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A graduate of the Creative and Professional Writing programme at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Mel Taylor-Bessent, has been named by The Bookseller as one of its rising stars in publishing.

The Bookseller, the UK’s leading publishing magazine, produces its annual list of their 40 rising stars to highlight forward-thinking individuals from all sectors of the trade whose actions have caught the eye and suggested them as possible leaders of the future.

Mel was selected for the Class of 2018 for her work on her company Authorfy, which she started in 2017 following the success of her company Little Star Writing (LSW). Launched six years ago, LSW run live events and creative writing workshops for children, which have been a great success and will see over 30 workshops taking place this year.

Authorfy took the success of LSW and transferred it to the digital space, giving schools six-week video masterclasses led by authors including Danny Wallace, Abi Elphinstone and Kwame Alexander, along with downloads and cross-curriculum schemes of work.

Speaking to The Bookseller, Mel said, “Authorfy is already expanding quicker than planned. In five years’ time, I want Authorfy to become the go-to place for anything to do with children’s books in education. I’d like to arrange an Authorfy Tour (taking a group of authors to large venues around the country) and I’d like to launch the Authorfy Awards. There would definitely be scope for an adult version of Authorfy in the future, too.”

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing Dr Russell Schechter said of her success, "Mel was a brilliant student at St Mary's and a very talented writer. We are so happy - and not at all surprised - to see her named as a Rising Star in UK publishing. Mel has always been a star to us."

Programme Director for Creative and Professional Writing Dr Jonathan Gibbs added, “This is great news for Mel, who has achieved great success in setting up first Little Star Writing and now its bigger online cousin, Authorfy. We’re so proud that she’s continuing the work of taking creative writing out into education and wish her every continued success.”

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