National Mentoring Programme

UPDATE: We aim to contact all applicants with the outcome of the 2021 mentoring application process by early-Ocber 2021. Apologies for the delay.

Words Ireland is initiating 29 literature mentoring relationships to begin in September 2021. Closing date for applications is noon, Thursday 22 July, 2021. The opportunity is available to writers of:

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

Writers from all thirty-two counties can apply. 23 of the 29 mentorships are made possible thanks to the generous support of 15 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
The Source Arts Centre, Tipperary
County Wexford Arts Department
Roscommon Arts Centre
Wicklow Arts Office
dlr Arts Office & dlr Libraries

For a second year running, we’re pleased to announce the Embassy of Colombia in Ireland is supporting a special mentorship, offered to a novelist, who will be mentored by acclaimed Colombian writer Margarita García Robayo.

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

Mentors are nominated by selected mentees from Words Ireland’s growing panel of experienced, professional writers.

This opportunity is specifically for:

  • emerging writers who can demonstrate a commitment to writing e.g. creative writing training or courses undertaken, journal publications, awards or notable mentions, or other recognisable achievements.
  • Writers who have published one or two books and who feel they could benefit from further professional guidance and feedback on their work-in-progress.
  • Writers with 3+ book publications who have begun writing in a form in which they have yet to publish a book.

Each mentorship consists of four meetings with an experienced writer over a period of approximately 6–8 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 professional information and advice.

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

How To Apply

Applicants are asked to submit the following information through Submittable (weblink below):

  • A Statement of Intent outlining what project you will focus on during the mentoring process (max 200 words)
  • A Statement outlining your writing style, wider literary interests, and/or books or writers you have an affinity with (100 words max)
  • A Statement of Benefit outlining why and how you think you’ll benefit from mentoring (max 200 words)
  • A writing CV listing any previous publications, writing experience, awards or recognition, creative writing classes or mentoring.
  • Sample text relating to one of the below three:
    • Prose writers: Two pieces of work, approximately 2,000 words in total. One piece, up to 1,000 words, from a work you consider finished (where possible this should be from work that has been published) and a second piece, also up to 1,000 words, from your current writing project.
    • Poets: 1 published poem + 2 poems in progress, no more than 160 lines in total.
    • Children’s writers: Two pieces of work, approximately 2,000 words in total. One piece, up to 1,000 words, from a work you consider finished and a second piece, also up to 1,000 words, from your current writing project.

Only one submission per applicant is allowed. If you have received literature mentoring through this particular mentoring programme within the last three years, you are ineligible to apply. Applications for mentees will only be accepted through Submittable.

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


Deadline: (NOW CLOSED) 22 July 2021