National Mentoring Programme
The National Mentoring Programme is an opportunity for selected writers across the island of Ireland to receive sustained creative and professional mentoring from an acclaimed Irish writer of their choosing.
About the National Mentoring Programme
- Literary fiction
- Creative non-fiction
- Children’s / YA fiction
Panel of Mentors for National Mentoring Programme 2023
|Éilís Ní Dhuibhne|
|Sarah Moore Fitzgerald|
|Sarah Maria Griffin|
|Elizabeth Rose Murray|
|Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons|
Supporting the National Mentoring Programme
Many of the mentorships are made possible thanks to the generous support of arts offices, arts centres, libraries and literature organisations across the island of Ireland.
Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown Arts Office, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown Libraries, Dublin City Libraries, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Fingal Arts, Galway City Arts Office, Kildare Arts Service, Kilkenny Arts Office, Limerick City & County Arts Office, Mayo Arts Office, Meath Arts Office, Offaly County Arts Office, Roscommon Arts Centre, Sligo County Council, South Dublin Arts Office, The Source Arts Centre, Tipperary, Wexford Arts Office, Wicklow Arts Office, Westmeath Arts Office.
This year, thanks to continued support from our main funder, the Arts Council, eight mentorships will be available to writers living in ‘All Other Counties’. Funding from the Arts Council makes the administration of the IWC’s National Mentoring Programme viable.
Embassy of Colombia in Ireland
For the fourth year running, we’re pleased to announce the Embassy of Colombia in Ireland is supporting a special mentorship, whereby an Ireland-based writer will be mentored by a Colombian author. The author for 2023 is Gloria Susana Esquivel, a Colombian journalist, author, translator and poet. She has written for Colombian and International media. She is the presenter of the podcast on feminism and culture Womansplaining in collaboration with the magazine 070. Her poems have been published in the UNAM´s Periódico de Poesía, the journal Palabras errantes and the magazine Matera. Her short stories have appeared in the anthology Puñalada trapera (2017) and in the Casa de las Américas journal. She completed a master in creative writing in NYU and is a lecturer in the Creative Writing Master of Instituto Caro y Cuervo (Colombia). She has published the poetry collection El lado salvaje (2016, The Wild Side) and the novel Animales del fin del mundo (2017; Animals at the end of the world, 2020).
(LEFT) Headshot: Gloria Susana Esquivel
How to Apply
Read Testimonials Below
Running since 2017, the programme now has numerous published authors among its alumni, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Fiona Scarlett, Will Keohane and Victoria Kennefick to name just a few. There have been over 150 awardees of the National Mentoring Programme so far. View some of the testimonials below.
“…thank you and all at the writers centre for this mentorship. I had my final meeting with Niall Williams recently and it is very hard to do justice to how much the process has helped my writing and this novel. Niall has been simply brilliant and there is no way I would have the work where it is today without the mentoring programme. I can’t thank you and the original judges/readers enough.”
I did my first zoom session with Louise [O’Neill]. She is absolutely AMAZING. I just wanted to reach out and say thanks again for setting this up. As a mentor, Louise is incredibly generous not only with her time but with her insights. She made me feel more confident about the work-in-progress. She asked all the right questions to get me thinking deeper about story, and also about writing bias when it comes to race. I can’t thank you enough.”
“I recently came to the end of my mentorship with Wendy Erskine and I wanted to write and thank you for the opportunity. The whole experience was really pleasant and interesting, not to mention of great benefit to my work. Wendy was as wise and generous a mentor as I could have wished for and it was a real privilege to work with her. Thank you so much!”
“I am looking at my work with new eyes and developing it in very different directions than if I had kept working away by myself or even with my writing group. The mentoring process is a great motivator. I have worked consistently with great focus since my first meeting, reworking material I brought to that meeting and preparing for the next.”
“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”.
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe
“Henrietta McKervey was a fantastic mentor who provided me with tons of creative and professional advice that I will be able to build on for years to come. While I still have much to do to complete my current project, I feel that the programme has provided me with the tools to take a professional approach to my work and has helped me to refine my own creative processes.”
Wendy [Erskine’s] close reading of the stories, her thoughtful, nuanced feedback and her belief in the stories and the collection as a whole has been a gift beyond measure. She has been extraordinarily generous, insightful, thoughtful and supportive. It was an absolute joy, and privilege, from start to finish to work with Wendy this closely and in this way. A formative and transformative creative experience for me.
Meet the National Mentoring Programme Coordinator
Brendan Mac Evilly
Brendan Mac Evilly runs the National Mentoring Programme on behalf of the Irish Writers Centre. He is also the director and co-editor of Holy Show, an annual arts journal which also creates staged literary productions, and co-directs Match in the Dark which published a document on ‘Writers Pay & Conditions’ for Irish writers. Brendan’s short fiction has been published in The Stinging Fly and in The Honest Ulsterman. His articles have been published in The Guardian, The Irish Times, The Sunday Times, and The Dublin Review of Books among others. The Collins Press published his first creative nonfiction book ‘At Swim: A Book About the Sea’ in 2016.