National Mentoring Programme

Announcement: 8 October 2021

National Mentoring Programme Mentees for 2021–22

Congratulations to the 41 writers chosen to receive mentorship under Words Ireland’s National Mentoring Programme beginning in 2021. Mentees will be paired with writers of their choosing over the coming 8 months to develop and complete adult and YA novels, short fiction and poetry collections, and children’s books.

There was a record number of applications this year, 339 in total. All involved in the judging process commented on the increased quality of applications. Words Ireland would like to sincerely thank the many funding bodies who rose to the occasion to help meet the increased demand. And we’re incredibly grateful to our core funder, the Arts Council, which ultimately made it possible for so many writers to receive support.

The National Mentoring Programme will be open for applications again in 2022.

Here are this year’s successful mentorship recipients alongside their respective supporting organisations:

Writer Supporting organisation
Anna-Marie Maher Arts Council of Ireland
Elaine Garvey Arts Council of Ireland
Jamie O’Halloran Arts Council of Ireland
Susanne Stich Arts Council of Ireland
Eilish Mulholland Arts Council of Ireland
Eva Griffin Dublin City Libraries
Kelly Michels Dublin City Libraries
Roisin Costello Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
David Ralph Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Claire Gleeson Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Stephanie Barry Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Oyanne Gahan dlr Arts Office & dlr Libraries
Monica Wallace dlr Arts Office & dlr Libraries
David Morgan O’Connor dlr Arts Office & dlr Libraries
Sadhbh Moriarty Embassy of Colombia in Ireland
Niamh Donnelly Fingal Arts Office
Mark Kielty Fingal Arts Office
Lisa Walsh Fingal Arts Office
Shauna Smullen Fingal Arts Office
Beth Kilkenny South Dublin Arts Office
Diarmuid Fitzgerald South Dublin Arts Office
Gráinne Daly South Dublin Arts Office
Eoin Rogers South Dublin Arts Office
James Hudson South Dublin Arts Office
Ella Gaynor Galway City Arts Office
Niamh Kielthy Kildare Arts Service
Claire Coughlan Kildare Arts Service
Darren Caffrey Kilkenny Arts Office
Eimear Lawlor Kilkenny Arts Office
Pat O’Connor Limerick City & County Arts Office
Will Keohane Limerick City & County Arts Office
Edel Burke Mayo Arts Office
Ross Kelly Meath Arts Office
Katie McDermott Meath Arts Office
Rory Duffy Roscommon Arts Centre
Catherine O’Brien The Source Arts Centre, Tipperary
Jill Kenny The Source Arts Centre, Tipperary
Oona Frawley Wicklow Arts Office
Alison Wells Wicklow Arts Office
Michael Sheehan County Wexford Arts Department

More about the National Mentoring Programme

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. Many of the mentorships are made possible thanks to the generous support of 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