Antonia Byatt (CEO, First Story), Jenn Ashworth (NC 2000; novelist and professor of creative writing at Lancaster University) and Lottie Mills (undergraduate student, winner of the 2020 BBC Young Writers’ Award) explore the power of writing fiction to transform lives.

JENN ASHWORTH (NC 2000) studied English at Newnham and took an MA in Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing, Manchester University. She started her career in libraries, and went on to become a freelance writer, literature development and project worker, setting up the Lancashire Writing Hub and developing other writing development projects across the North West. She is Professor of Writing at Lancaster University. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, won a Betty Trask Award. As well as novels, she has published short stories, essays and a memoir. 

ANTONIA BYATT has over 30 years’ experience in the cultural sector, from leading policy for the literature sector at Arts Council England, to heading arts organisations such as English PEN and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Creating new ways people enjoy reading and writing is at the heart of all her work. She’s also an experienced trustee, currently of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. She is the CEO of First Story, England’s leading creative writing charity for young people.

LOTTIE MILLS is studying English at Newnham, and is a former JCR President. She was a finalist in the BBC Young Writers’ Awards 2018, and was inspired to apply to Cambridge after visiting for the awards ceremony. In 2020, she was shortlisted a second time, this time winning for her short story ‘The Changeling’. She is now represented by a leading literary agency, and is working to develop a collection of her short stories for publication.