Julie Marney Leigh


Writer and Mentor with @WriteMentor

Julie is currently revising her novel before submission. She is represented by Hannah Weatherill at Northbank Talent Management.

Julie grew up in Lancashire, and now lives in Scotland where she gained a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, and fell in love with the city. She lectured in English Literature at Edinburgh University for many years, and enjoyed all aspects of teaching. She loves working with students and supervising projects. While at Edinburgh University she also worked as a Director of the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School, and relished the opportunity to work with students from all around the world.

Julie has won competitions for comedy writing at The Script Factory, and in 2014, her writing was selected into the top ten scripts of BAFTA Rocliffe’s New Writing Forum for Children’s Film and Television Writing. More recently, she is an alumna of the Curtis Brown Creative Writing for Children Course with Catherine Johnson.

She writes funny and heart-warming contemporary novels for teens with a focus on fun and friendship. As she writes for the age range that bridges the gap between MG and YA, ages 10-14, Julie is keen to discover either a great MG, Teen, or YA book.

Some of her recent favourite books are: Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy; Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu; Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt; Are we all Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne; Geek Girl by Holly Smale; The Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera; Super Awkward by Beth Garrod; Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han; The Graces by Laure Eve; and anything at all written by Katy Birchall and Perdita and Honor Cargill – if they wrote about the contents of their fridges, she’d read it!

Julie adores being a mentor and relishes the opportunity to provide advice, support and encouragement. She is currently a mentor on the #WriteMentor Spark programme, helping two mentees with support, encouragement and the power of deadlines! She was also a mentor for the inaugural #WriteMentor summer mentoring programme in 2018, which she loved so much that she immediately joined the 2019 programme as well. Her two mentees from the inaugural programme have now gained agent representation, and her mentee from 2019 gained a lot of agent requests and is continuing to write. Writing is an editing game and perseverance pays off. Julie and the mentees all got such a lot out of the mentoring experience and are still in touch with each other today, continuing to provide writing support and advice.

Julie likes everything about the creative process – the brainstorming of ideas and the writing of stories. But, without question, her favourite part is editing. She enjoys structural edits, finer more detailed edits and even line edits.

Above all, she loves working with other writers. There is so much to be gained from the process of sharing and critiquing work, not just from the development of a writer’s skills but also from the whole aspect of being part of a writing community.

In choosing a mentee to work with this summer, Julie is looking for someone who wants to work hard and perfect their craft, while also having fun and enjoying the whole process. In choosing a project, she’s looking for a striking concept that hooks the reader in immediately. Especially if it’s coupled with a strong voice and interesting characters that grab the reader and make them have to read more.

Julie is hosting a Twitter chat to discuss all things WriteMentor on Wednesday 8th April 2020 8pm-9pm BST. Why not come along, say hi, and find out more.

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