After a national call out, 38 writers have been selected for the Irish Writers Centre’s National Mentoring Programme from a total of over 300 applicants. Selected writers will receive professional literary mentoring over the next 8 months from an acclaimed Irish writer of their choice.

Selected writers for the 2022 National Mentoring Programme are:

Tracy Gaughan Colombian Embassy
Sheila McWade All Other Counties
Theresa Ryder All Other Counties
Hugh Madden All Other Counties
Neil Tully All Other Counties
Geraldine Morrissey All Other Counties
Ger Duffy All Other Counties
Máire Robinson All Other Counties
Leopold O’Shea All Other Counties
Sonya Gildea DLR Arts Office
Mia Doring DLR Libraries
Charlotte Buckley Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Eoghan Carrick Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Caroline McEvoy Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature
Aoife Sheehan Fingal Arts Office
Anita Bonesteel Fingal Arts Office
Elizabeth Brennan Fingal Arts Office
Hayley Carr Fingal Arts Office
Michelle Coyne Galway City Arts Office
Siobhán Harte Kildare Arts Service
Catherine Gander Kildare Arts Service
C. T. O’Mahony Kilkenny Arts Office
N Roche Kilkenny Arts Office
Luke Brennan Limerick Arts Office
Sarah Togher Limerick Arts Office
Gemma Marren Mayo Arts Office
Alan O’Rourke Meath Arts Office
Jessamine O Connor Roscommon Arts Centre
Rere Ukponu South Dublin Arts Office
Declan Geraghty South Dublin Arts Office
Siobhan Daffy South Dublin Arts Office
Lenny Antonelli Source Arts Centre, Tipperary
Clare O’Reilly Source Arts Centre, Tipperary
Brendan Fahy Wexford Arts Office
Mary Cotter Wexford Arts Office
Paul Lenehan Wicklow Arts Office
Patrick Fitzgerald Wicklow Arts Office
David McGrath Wicklow Arts Office

The mentoring process involves four meetings between the selected ‘mentee’ and their chosen professional writer. In advance of each meeting, the mentor reads up to 10,000 words / 180 lines of poetry of the awarded mentee’s writing, then shares their hard-earned critical feedback and advice. 

The Irish Writers Centre’s mission is to support a vibrant and diverse community of writers of all types and talents to develop their craft, capacity and confidence to thrive as a writer in the world. The hope for the National Mentoring Programme is that the chosen mentees will go on to write great works of literature to match or best the quality of their mentors. It’s a form of peer to peer teaching that is increasingly popular in literature, formalizing the process whereby masters pass on their craft to students. 

Running since 2017, the programme now has numerous published authors among its alumni, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Fiona Scarlett, and Victoria Kennefick to name just a few.

Former NMP participant Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe had this to say of her experience;

“Early career support, visibility and recognition are crucially important for new and emerging writers, and can often mark the difference between a writer who continues writing, and a writer who doesn’t. I am fortunate to be one of those writers who was encouraged to continue writing — if it were not for my mentors, I would not be writing today. I am incredibly grateful to Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Libraries, Words Ireland, and my mentor Gavin McCrea”.

The initiative is co-funded by a wide range of county arts offices, arts centres and other organisations who guarantee that one or more writers from their counties are supported through the programme. Supporting bodies include:

Dublin City Libraries, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Fingal Arts Office, Wicklow Arts Office, Roscommon Arts Centre, Limerick Arts Office, South Dublin Arts Office, Kildare Arts Office, Kilkenny Arts Office, Wexford Arts Office, Galway Arts Office, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Libraries and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Arts Office, Mayo Arts Office, Meath Arts Office, Source Arts Centre.

The initiative’s main funder is the Arts Council of Ireland whose support for the NMP has increased significantly in 2022 allowing for 8 mentorship for writers regardless of their county of origin. And for a third year in a row, the Embassy of Colombia in Ireland will support a Colombian writer to mentor an Irish writer selected from any county.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities at the Irish Writers Centre then take a look at this page.