Folkestone’s Award Winning Author Manjeet Mann

Folkestone author Manjeet Mann moved to the coast from London and has never looked back.

 

Her novels have won awards and medals, and garnered her critical acclaim. We spoke to Manjeet Mann to find out more about her incredible journey to success.

 

Ever since your debut novel was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, you’ve had an impressive number of awards and wins. What’s it like to achieve such success as a debut author? 

It’s lovely but also overwhelming. I’m so grateful both books have been received well, I was not expecting it at all. Run, Rebel came out in March 2020, not a great year to be a debut author so I honestly thought my career was over before it had begun. But luckily it was picked up by librarians and teachers who championed it and spread the word, so I owe my success to them really.

Awards and shortlists are great but it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. I actually had a lot of anxiety over the awards. I put a lot of pressure on myself thinking that the next book had to do as well as the last. I’ve put that down now. I give myself a day or so to feel good about it and celebrate and then I get back to work and try not to think about it. It’s important not to get caught up in the ‘noise’ that awards can bring and try not to attach any sense of self-worth on to them. It’s a bonus if you make a shortlisting, even better if you win, but at the end of the day, there’s another novel to write, so block out the noise and keep calm and carry on.

 

Has living in Folkestone affected the kinds of stories you write? 

Moving to Folkestone definitely inspired The Crossing. If it wasn’t for my move down here from London I’m not sure I would have had the idea for The Crossing. It hasn’t inspired any other stories yet but what Folkestone does lend itself to is space. There’s literally more wide-open spaces here, which is great for clearing your mind, which in turn leaves space for inspiration.

 

Tell me about your non-writing project, Run the World – what does that involve? CommunityAd Exclusive - Folkestone's Award Winning Author Manjeet Mann

Run The World uses sport and art to help empower women and girls from all walks of life and physical abilities with a strong focus on women and girls from marginalised backgrounds and empowering them through running and other sporting activities and art. It is a safe space where the focus is on creativity and fun and the social aspect of non-competitive sport. A place where a community is built around supporting one another, empowering one another and, as women, fearlessly moving forward together.

Exercise sessions are followed by creativity sessions where women and girls work together to co-create a piece art. This can include theatre, visual art, writing, anything they like really, the focus being telling their individual stories. Together they are able to develop creativity, confidence and leadership skills. Sport and art are wonderful enablers to open up that side of ourselves that fears to be bold, overcomes our fear and forces us to grow. I worked with groups in Birmingham and Folkestone before an enforced two-year hiatus and hoping to get started again this year.

 

What are your top writing tips? 

Commitment and discipline. If you have an idea commit to it. Set aside a day and time when you can sit down and start. You might not have the luxury of being able to write everyday but do you have an hour once a week? If you do, commit to that. And then have the discipline to turn up for yourself and do the work for that hour. If you do that once a week, in 52 weeks you’ll have a finished manuscript.

 

What was the last great book you read?

Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo. It’s a masterpiece.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few things. I’m adapting my debut novel Run, Rebel for the stage. It’s actually in rehearsals at the moment so I’m just doing the final re-writes before the playtext is published in time for opening night. I’m working on my third YA novel which is being published in June 2024, another verse novel, set in India. I’m working on my third picture book, a TV pilot and writing a few keynote speeches for conferences I’ve been invited to in the next few months.

 

Manjeet Mann’s books are available to buy in all good bookstores. Keep up with her writing via her website.

Exclusives by Area

Search