An award-winning crime author will be mentoring students at the University of Worcester from September.

Ledbury-based Sarah Hilary, who won the 2015 Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award for her debut novel Someone Else’s Skin, is taking up a position as a fellow at the university.

A former bookseller, Sarah won the Fish Criminally Short Histories Prize in 2008, the Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2012 and saw Someone Else’s Skin picked for the Richard & Judy Book Club in 2014.

Her second book, No Other Darkness, was shortlisted for a Barry Award.

She’ll be joining the University of Worcester as part of the Royal Literary Fund Fellowship scheme, which aims to place professional writers in higher education institutions to offer writing support to all students.

“The role exists to support university students who may be struggling with the demands of essay writing, analytical thinking and so on,” said Sarah.

“It’s a purely voluntary service with students referred by tutors or at their own request. They pop in and spend time talking with one of the RLF fellows, learning practical skills, building confidence and making progress towards their writing goals.”

Support system

Students are discouraged from asking fellows to edit or correct work before it’s handed in. The idea is rather to get feedback on an early draft or seek advice on particular aspects of style or technique.

“I wish there had been an RLF fellow at the college where I took my degree, many years ago now,” said Sarah. “University can be a daunting step, at any age.

“Every university, like Worcester, has a support system in place to help students navigate these new demands and challenges. The RLF fellows are one part of that support system, bringing fresh eyes and understanding whenever it is needed.

“This is my first time being a fellow and I'm told Worcester is a marvelous university to be working with. I'm excited to get started.”

Sarah’s latest book, Fragile, is out now.