Sarah May is the highly acclaimed author of seven novels, including The Nudist Colony, which was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Her second novel, Spanish City, was shortlisted for the Encore Award, and The Internationals was longlisted for The Orange Prize. Her other novels include best-selling trilogy, The Rise and Fall of The Queen of Suburbia, The Rise and Fall of a Domestic Diva, and The Wonder Girls.
Sarah May writes unsettling, darkly comic fiction. She has been described as having a voice which is, ‘boundlessly ambitious. This is writing at the level of myth: fully formed, recognisable, unique.’
In her teaching and mentoring, Sarah is passionate about inspiring new writers as well as supporting those returning to writing, to find their own unique voice. She believes that the novel, whose form continues to evolve, is one of the last great arenas where complex, moral discussion can take place between writers and readers.
Sarah has been a mentor and tutor of creative writing for over 15 years. She has taught UEA/Guardian Masterclass courses and is currently a lead tutor on Faber Academy’s six month writing a novel course. She also mentors writers through Jill Dawson’s Gold Dust programme.
Sarah has mentored many writers from draft to publication.
‘I simply would not be where I am without the mentorship of Sarah May under the Gold Dust mentors program. It was my equivalent of doing an MA in creative writing, we spent a year and by the end we had a novel. Not only that, but I learnt so much about what is expected of me as a writer and also the publishing world in general. You come away with a much wider knowledge of how to keep going no matter how tough it gets (a much needed skill in creative writing!). I also liked that the course doesn’t mean having to give and receive feedback from peers, to some this is hugely helpful, but I’m not good at doing that and also, selfishly, I just wanted to concentrate on my book. Sarah supported me through the querying and submission process, always there if I need to chat about anything at all. I couldn’t find another scheme of this quality where you will actually finish the book, and to me, that really is why I would always point potential writers to them. It really is the best thing I have done.’ – Sally-Anne Martyn, author of The Clinic
'To put it simply: the Gold Dust course is the best writing course I have ever experienced. What I write and how I write has improved beyond recognition. This is down in part to the supreme individual focus the course gives, where every moment is laser-guided to improve the overall approach to writing and the mechanics of the craft. Yet none of the course would be of much worth without the kind insight and technical wisdom from my tutor, Sarah May. Her expert dedication, charming humour, and unnerving ability to see what the writer cannot make each session not only thoroughly enjoyable but changed both how to write but also what to write. I cannot recommend her and this course highly enough.' – Andrew James
‘…the best service is the one that reads and feedbacks your entire manuscript…as Gold Dust does!…I love working with Sarah. Writing is very lonely and having her (now on zoom) kind and constructive feedback was so welcome.’ – Sally-Anne Bedford, now represented by Katie Fulford at Bell Lomax Moreton agency, mentored by Sarah May Read the full testimonial here.
'It's incredibly reassuring to know I can always ask Sarah for her advice. As a relative newcomer to the industry, I very much appreciate having someone with her wealth of knowledge. She's very generous with her time too and I don't think I would have got half this far without her.' – Harriet Cummings, author of We All Begin As Strangers and The Last Of Us
'Sarah started guiding me as a writer in 2015, and because of her insight, time and energy, my concept for a novel transformed into a bestseller. My entire career is taking shape because of Sarah teaching me how to become a better writer, and then teaching me how to talk to the industry about it.' – Darren O'Sullivan, author of Our Little Secret and Close Your Eyes
'Sarah has been very important to me in my development as a writer. Her advice, time and energy has made entering the writing industry possible. Her mentoring is invaluable: both her sage editorial eye in honing the writing craft, and her support through the challenges of writing a first novel. She is an exceptional tutor, and her belief in my concept transformed my confidence and pushed me far beyond my comfort zone as a writer. I now think nostalgically of our mentoring sessions, of Sarah’s immense insight, wisdom and humour. I cannot recommend Sarah highly enough as a mentor.' – Alice Coubrough, signed with David Godwin Associates
'Sarah is a brilliant tutor. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about the craft of writing and her editing guidance is invaluable. She has really helped me to grow into my writing process and tackle with greater confidence the challenges that arise. I highly recommend both Sarah's class teaching and her mentoring.' – Philip Kidson, signed with A.M. Heath