Applications for National Mentoring Programme 2024 are now closed. The reading and selection process takes place through March, April and May, and we will aim to notify all candidates of the results by early June 2024.

About the National Mentoring Programme

A minimum of 35 mentoring relationships are on offer every year as part of the National Mentoring Programme. Applications are open annually throughout the month of February.

We now open to applications from 1 February to 2 March 2024. See below for full details and submittable link.

The opportunity is available to writers who practice in the following genres/forms:

  • Fiction
  • Creative non-fiction
  • Children’s / YA fiction
  • Poetry

Writers from all thirty-two counties are eligible to apply. Selected mentees get the opportunity to choose the writer they work with from our growing panel of experienced, professional writers (subject to availability).

Each mentorship consists of four meetings with an experienced writer over a period of approximately 6–8 months. The mentor reads up to 10,000 words / 180 lines of poetry in advance, and will give creative feedback and advice at each meeting. They may also provide professional information and advice.

Who are our mentors?

We currently have more than eighty professional writers to choose from on our mentoring list, made up of poets, prose writers and children’s/YA writers. Most writers on our mentor list have published 3 or more books with traditional publishers and have a wealth of teaching and/or mentoring experience. Selection of mentors is always mentee-led. Mentees can also choose to work with writers who are not on our list where they’re keen to work with particular writers. Mentees selections are dependent on mentor availability at any given time.

Receive Mentorship through the National Mentoring Programme

Featured in this film is National Mentoring Programme (NMP) Coordinator, Brendan Mac Evilly, Past NMP mentee, Fíona Scarlett and NMP mentor, Joanna Walsh.


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

Mentee opportunities are open to writers over the age of 18 who are resident on the island of Ireland. All mentees will avail of the relationship for free.

Applicants should neither be in full-time education at the time of application, nor planning to undertake a full-time education course at the same time as their mentorship will be underway.

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. Only one submission per applicant is allowed.

The Irish Writers Centre actively encourages applications from writers from backgrounds currently underrepresented in Irish literature. Full details on our commitment to principles and practices of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) can be found in our EDI policy here.

As a publicly-funded organisation, we are committed to taking positive policy measures to promote equality of opportunity, access and outcomes for all those living in Ireland regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, civil or family status, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community, as well as socio-economic background.

Application Process

How to Apply

Applicants are asked to submit the following information through the Submittable form. The application link below is now live. Submissions close at 5pm on Saturday 2nd March 2024.

Applicants will need to submit:

  • A statement of intent outlining what project you will focus on during the mentoring process (100-200 words)
  • A statement outlining your writing style, wider literary interests, and/or books or writers you have an affinity with (50-100 words)
  • A statement of benefit outlining why and how you think you’ll benefit from mentoring (100-200 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 three options below:

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 a sample of published work) 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/YA 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.

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

There is no fee for application.

Submit your application via Submittable 

Submittable is an online platform that the Irish Writers Centre uses to collect and review submissions and applications. To submit your application via Submittable, applicants will need to create a Submittable account. It’s free and easy to use but if you have any issues with Submittable, please email Applications will be acknowledged via an automatic email.

See list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Apply here

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. 

These include:

Carlow County Council, Dublin City Libraries, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown Arts Office, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown Libraries, Droichead Arts Centre, Fingal Arts, Galway City Arts Office, Kildare Arts Service, Kilkenny Arts Office, Limerick City & County Arts Office, Longford County Council, Mayo Arts Office, Meath Arts Office, Offaly County Arts Office, Roscommon Arts Centre, Sligo County Council, South Dublin Arts Office, The Source Arts Centre, Westmeath Arts Office, Wexford Arts Office and Wicklow Arts Office.

We are grateful to all the above who fund individual mentorships for writers in their county area. The Arts Council generously supports this programme by ensuring that mentorships are available to writers living in ‘All Other Counties.’

Read Testimonials Below

Running since 2017, the programme now has numerous published authors among its alumni, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Fíona 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.

Neil Tully

The mentoring scheme is a fantastic initiative by the IWC. The mentor I was paired with was flexible, encouraging and had fantastic insight. With her help I completed and edited my novel, ready for submission, in 8 months, work that would have taken me twice as long working alone.

Gemma Marren, NMP Mentee 2023

Getting one-to-one feedback on my novel from a professional author was such an invaluable experience. I am extremely grateful to the National Mentoring Programme and highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their craft.

C.T. O’Mahony, NMP Mentee 2023

The National Mentoring Programme made me feel for the first time that I was a writer, not a pretender. Getting a book published used to feel like some far-off, impossible dream. The NMP turned that into a realistic, achievable goal and set me squarely on the path to get there.

Brendan Fahy, Mentee 2023

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.

Caroline McEvoy

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.

Sonya Gildea

I can’t actually describe how much this programme meant to me. My mentor Jan Carson gave me such confidence in myself and my work. Jan taught me the beauty in the mundane things like editing, and proper grammar- while also teaching me to trust my instincts and have fun with writing again. She was honest and fair in her criticism but was equally as honest and kind with her praise. I wouldn’t have written half the things I did without her guidance. I had the best time this year.

Rere Ukponu

Time, and close, dedicated attention: two things on which we so often compromise in our increasingly busy lives, and two things that our writing needs to stay alive. This programme is the gift of both. Long may it continue!

Catherine Gander

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.


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