National Mentoring Programme

Open for applications again in June 2021.

Announcement 7 July 2020

Congratulations to the 23 writers listed below who will receive one-to-one mentoring from professional writer-mentors over the coming year.

With almost 250 applications this year, the quality and ambition of applicants’ work continues to rise.

18 of the 23 mentorships are made possible thanks to the generous support and funding of 14 different arts offices, arts centres, libraries and literature organisations. These are:

Dublin City Libraries
Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Fingal Arts
South Dublin Arts Office
Galway City Arts Office
Kildare Arts Service
Kilkenny Arts Office
Limerick City & County Arts Office
Mayo Arts Office
Meath Arts Office
County Wexford Arts Department
Roscommon Arts Centre
Wicklow Arts Office
dlr Arts Office & dlr Libraries

Five mentorships are available to writers living in ‘all other counties’ on the island thanks to funding from the Arts Council, who also make the administration of the National Mentoring Programme viable.

Mentees will work their chosen mentors, who this year include Dermot Bolger, Sarah Crossan, Sara Baume, Thomas McCarthy, Dave Rudden, Nessa O’Mahony, Peter Sirr and others to be confirmed.

This year, we’re pleased to announce the Embassy of Colombia in Ireland is supporting a special, 24th, fiction mentorship with acclaimed Colombian writer Jorge Franco. The selected mentee for this opportunity will be announced shortly. Franco will also offer an online creative writing seminar to all past and present mentees.

Congratulations to all recipients of the National Mentoring Programme. The successful writers are:

Sean Tanner Literary fiction All Other Counties – Arts Council
Simon Costello Poetry All Other Counties – Arts Council
Ali Isaac Creative non-fiction All Other Counties – Arts Council
Milena Williamson Poetry All Other Counties – Arts Council
Molly Twomey Poetry All Other Counties – Arts Council
TBC Literary fiction Embassy of Colombia in Ireland
Triona Campbell Children’s / YA Dublin City Libraries
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe Creative non-fiction Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Kevin Graham Poetry Fingal Arts
Rachel Sneyd Children’s / YA Fingal Arts
Courtney Smyth Children’s / YA South Dublin Arts Office
Maria Kenny Literary fiction South Dublin Arts Office
Katie Martin Poetry South Dublin Arts Office
Hanahazukashi Cepeda Literary fiction Galway City Arts Office
Ruth Ennis Children’s / YA Kildare Arts Service
Kevin Conroy Poetry Kildare Arts Service
Nora Brennan Literary fiction Kilkenny Arts Office
Peter Delaney Literary fiction Limerick City & County Arts Office
Anne Walsh Donnelly Poetry Mayo Arts Office
Angela Lyons Novel Meath Arts Office
Eve McDonnell Children’s / YA County Wexford Arts Department
Amy Barry Poetry Roscommon Arts Centre
Eilish Fisher Children’s / YA Wicklow Arts Office
Natalie Ryan Literary fiction dlr Arts Office & dlr Libraries


Thanks to the blind readers, Grace Wells and Elske Rahill, who read all applications, and the Words Ireland mentoring subcommittee, Hilary Copeland (Acting Director of the Irish Writers Centre), Sinéad Mac Aodha (Director of Literature Ireland), and Patrick Cotter (Director of the Munster Literature Centre) for making all final decisions.

Mentors are chosen by the mentees from Words Ireland’s growing panel of experienced, professional writers. If you’re a professional writer with three or more books published to date, and you have significant creative writing teaching or mentoring experience, contact to have your name added to the panel of mentors.


Applications now closed until 2021.

Words Ireland is initiating 23 literature mentoring relationships to begin in June/July 2020. Closing date for applications is noon, Monday 4 May, 2020. The opportunity is available to writers of:

  • literary fiction
  • creative non-fiction
  • children’s / YA fiction
  • poetry


This opportunity is specifically for:

  • emerging writers who can demonstrate a strong commitment to writing e.g. journal publications, awards or notable mentions, creative writing training or courses undertaken, or other recognisable achievements (ideally some combination of the above).
  • Writers who have published one or two books and who feel they could benefit from professional guidance and feedback on their work-in-progress.
  • Writers with multiple publications who are working in a writing form in which they have yet to publish a book.

Each mentorship consists of four meetings with an experienced writer over a period of up to approximately six months. The mentor will read your work in advance of each meeting, and will give feedback and advice at each meeting. They may also provide information and advice on professional and publishing matters.


How To Apply

Applicants are asked to submit the following information through Submittable:

  • A Statement of Intent outlining what project you will focus on during the mentoring process (max 150 words)
  • A Statement of Benefit outlining why and how you think you’ll benefit from mentoring (max 150 words)
  • A writing CV listing any previous publications, writing experience, awards or recognition, creative writing classes or mentoring.
  • Anything up to 3,500 words of fiction, non-fiction or YA OR 4 poems/180 lines of poetry OR writers for young children can submit a lower word count that is appropriate to their writing project.

Mentee opportunities are open to writers of any age, race, gender, nationality who are resident in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. We’re particularly interested in seeing applications from writers from diverse social, economic or cultural backgrounds. All mentees will avail of the relationship for free. There is no fee for application.

Only one submission per applicant is allowed. Applications for mentees will only be accepted through Submittable.

Applications will be scored through a combination of externally judged blind readings of work-in-progress and a Words Ireland panel review of additional information (CVs, Statements, etc), with a respective 75%/25% split between these two.

Deadline: midnight on Monday 4 May 2020 (CLOSED)