IWC Evolution Programme text with semi-focussed image of books

 Deadline Extended until Friday 16 July at 5pm

We are delighted to announce the IWC Evolution Programme as part of our 30th Anniversary. This Programme is a new strand of combined supports for professional writers.

About the Irish Writers Centre

The Irish Writers Centre is proud to celebrate 30 years of services and supports to writers at all stages of their career since the opening of its doors in Parnell Square in 1991.

Over the last years, the Irish Writers Centre has expanded its provision of supports to writers in many ways, including professional development workshops, information webinars, residencies, bursaries for courses, mentor/mentee support, international opportunities and the invitation to becoming a member of our literary community. We acknowledge that we have been particularly supportive of beginner and emerging writers at the start of their career. As we have grown in knowledge and resources, we are now in a position to provide a more comprehensive set of supports for professional writers, and to provide them with sustained and individual attention for their particular needs.

NEW:  The IWC Evolution Programme – A 30th Anniversary Initiative

The Evolution Programme is an opportunity for published writers resident on the island of Ireland to avail from a series of sustained supports, which are partly tailored to their specific needs. The suite of supports will include bespoke career development with professional editorial, practical or creative support by way of a mentor. Attendance and/or participation clinics, literary events and self-selected IWC writing courses are further options. The 10-12 successful writers will participate in a monthly knowledge-sharing peer support forum and be allocated an IWC team liaison person to support them individually in building their own programme of supports.

While we have provided a range of opportunities in teaching, mentoring, training and taking part in events for published writers in the past, this programme aims to ease the difficult journey of published writers who have one or two books under their belt, and nourish them in their articulated needs at a crucial stage of their careers. The Evolution Programme aspires to assist them to sustain themselves (and each other) as practising artists, and to grow professionally and creatively.

In this Programme, we are partnering with the School of English and Creative Arts in NUI Galway who are kindly offering some opportunities to published writers to teach on the Creative Writing undergraduate course as part of a paid internship and under the mentorship of IWC Ambassador Mike McCormack and Dr. John Kenny, director of the BA in English and Creative Writing.  We are hugely grateful to IWC Ambassador Marian Keyes who is partially sponsoring fees for the writers selected to teach in NUI Galway.  We also acknowledge and thank the Arts Council of Ireland as a key funder who offers us core support for the delivery of all of our programmes.

Who is it for?

Evolution is a programme aimed specifically at writers whom we would consider a professional writer (see professional membership for a list of criteria) and who have published at least one book through a publishing company*. Writers from across all genres are invited to apply.

*As this is a pilot programme, we are prepared to accept writers who have secured publishing deals with reputable publishers, and whose books are scheduled to be launched no later than 2022. 

EDI dedicated places:  As stated in our Equality Diversity and Inclusion statement, we acknowledge an absence of Black, people of colour, Traveller, Roma and working-class representation in the literature world in Ireland, and seek to engage writers from all backgrounds, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, civil or family status, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community and  socio-economic background. A minimum of three places will be reserved for writers who identify as belonging to one or more of the above categories.

Irish Language writers: The IWC is committed to supporting the development of Irish language writers. While not all of the supports will be available as Gaeilge, some bespoke elements of the programme can be organised in Irish.

All-island writers:  We welcome applications from writers from across the island of Ireland.  It is an aim of the scheme to have cross-border and geographical representation in the final group of writers selected.

We will award between 10 -12 places to eligible writers who will be known as EP writers. Selection will be made by a panel of IWC team members and professional writers on the basis of eligibility and suitability based on the elements, aspirations and priorities of the scheme.  We will also consider the dynamic of the EP writers in a group setting.

How does it work?

In the first instance, successful applicants will meet with their IWC designated team member to discuss and design their ideal suite of supports, as identified in their application, and within our financial budget for the scheme.  Their bespoke programme will cover all three elements of the scheme which are:

  1. Training: To give Evolution Programme (EP) writers opportunities to upskill professionally and creatively.
  2. One-to-One Support: to deepen and nourish EP writers’ creative practice on a bespoke basis.
  3. Collaboration/Knowledge Sharing:  to support EP writers to create a supportive peer group over the lifetime of the scheme by way of a collaborative monthly forum (as a first measure) which is supported by the IWC, but which encourages group ownership.

The level of support available is dependent on the combination of supports selected from the choices offered within the framework below.

If you are awarded a place, you will have access to all supports listed in Table A.

Table A

– Collaborative Practice Support

  • Priority attendance at Information Webinars
  • Professional Membership for 2021
  • Collaborative forum/platform (monthy) for peer support and knowledge sharing
  • Performance opportunity at Takin’ the Mic
  • Dedicated IWC team member to assist in the designing of own Evolution scheme
  • An opportunity to feed into the evaluation process to improve the model  going forward.

In addition, you will select a minimum of 2 options from Table B and a maximum of 2 options from Table C, up to a maximum of 4 options combined.

Table B – Training & Performance Support

Table C – Creative or Teaching support

  • Access to Propel or Mindshift strands of supports (or another course, by negotiation)
  • One-off Clinic with a professional of choice for specified purpose. e.g. Editor/publisher or marketing professional
  • Access to IWC team for specified purpose. (eg. advice with grant writing; social media skills support; putting an event together.)
  • Mentor – for creative or professional development purposes – preferred name and timeline to be negotiated.
  • Participation or inclusion at events/webinars hosted by IWC or partners
  • Paid teaching internship to teach on the B.A. in English and Creative Writing programme with NUI Galway ( this option will be limited to three writers, with selection by interview)
  • Shadowing a selection panel
  • Opportunity to shadow writer-facilitators in IWC course teaching.

There may be other opportunities on offer during the course of the programme.  We are treating this first incarnation as a pilot and we’re open to ideas that EP writers might have in this respect.

What is the timeline and format?

The maximum timeline is six months from the date of acceptance of an offer onto the scheme, with a view that, ideally, all EP writers will have completed their programme by the end of 2021.

In line with Government COVID-19 recommendations, the Programme will be delivered online until such a time as in-person or hybrid activities can be facilitated.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

In the first instance, you must be resident on the island of Ireland. Next:

  1. Check whether you fit in with our professional member criteria.
  2. Confirm that you are published by a reputable publisher and can provide an ISBN.
  3. Have a clear, well-expressed rationale when making your case for inclusion on the Evolution Scheme and how you can support the EP Collaborative Peer Forum.

As this is a new programme, we are treating this round of Evolution as a pilot. Therefore, we will accept applications from a writer who has secured a deal with a reputable publisher, and whose book is scheduled for publication no later than December 2022.  The writer needs to provide a pdf from their publisher stating the publication date as evidence of their claim.

Writers will be selected according to these criteria in equal measure:

  1.  Stated need and case made for the anticipated supports
  2. Eligibility and track record.
  3. Creative samples of work.
  4. (Letter from publisher (in pdf form) with publication date – as necessary.)

    All creative samples will be given blind readings by a professional writer on the selection panel, as part of the selection process. Please ensure that your creative samples do not include your name.

    How can I apply?

    Please send in the following in one attachment (Word doc or pdf) to  no later than Wednesday July 14th, 2021 at 5pm, ensuring that you put Evolution Programme 2021 application in the subject line.

    • A Letter of Intent, saying why you would like to be on the programme, to have given thought to which supports you need, and to express how you could benefit and contribute to collaborative practice with your peers on the scheme. (max. 800 words.)
    • A Writer’s CV (max. 2 pages of A4)
    • Two short samples of no more than 600 words each: one published work; one work-in-progress ensuring that your name is not on them. (These will be sent for blind readings.)

    If you have any questions, please write to the above address.  We look forward to receiving your application.