← Back to Blog

Meet Sophie Bentinck, winner of the Breakthrough Scholarship for Memoir Writers

BY Katie Smart
1st Mar 2022

We are pleased to announce that Sophie Bentinck has been awarded the Breakthrough Scholarship for Memoir Writers for her memoir-in-progress Pauline. Sophie has won a place on our three-month online Writing Your Memoir course led by bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink. We are extremely grateful to the Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency for providing this scholarship, and for their support of our Breakthrough Writers' Programme.

The CBC team were hugely impressed by Sophie's honest portrayal of grief and familial love. We particularly enjoyed the narrative scope of Sophie's story told across three generations of women. We are delighted to welcome her to the course this week.

Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your memoir-in-progress Pauline?

I starting working on Pauline in 2019 and originally wrote it as a one woman show. Pauline was my maternal grandmother but I never met her because sadly she took her own life in 1967, long before I was born.

I found her diaries and totally fell in love with her. I was fascinated by her life, how she ended up thinking she couldn’t go on as well as in how her suicide might have impacted me via my mum. I did lots of interviews with Mum asking ‘How did you deal with losing your mum?’

Since then my mum has developed Alzheimer’s and I am learning first hand that you don’t really have any other choice. Writing about my experiences with Mum has helped me to process the grief and now with the help of Curtis Brown Creative I have the chance to develop the two strands into one memoir about all three of us; two lost mums, two lost daughters, love, hope and memory.

What does winning this scholarship place mean to you?

Without sounding over the top, its actually quite hard to put into words what winning this scholarship place means to me. I could never afford a course like the amazing one I am about to start and having the time, structure and support from an organisation like Curtis Brown Creative as well as guidance from such an experienced writer is a total game changer for me. It has given me such a confidence boost as a writer, now I just have to keep on top of my imposter syndrome!!

If you're a writer from an under-represented background and want to study with us, check out the Breakthrough Writers’ Programme. This is our exciting programme of free courses, mentoring and scholarships for under-represented writers, funded by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and partners.

Current opportunities include the Breakthrough Scholarship For TV Screenwriters with Low Income. This screenwriting scholarship will enable a talented writer with limited financial means to join our Writing an Original TV Drama Serial course. Apply by 20 March.