Residencies, Retreats & Opportunities
Evolution Programme 2022-2023
August 3, 2022 at 5:00pm
Following on from the success of our pilot Irish Writers Centre (IWC) Evolution Programme last year, and in keeping with Goal 1 of our new 2022-2026 Strategy, we are delighted to announce the return of the Evolution Programme 2022-2023. This programme will provide support for professional writers to advance their craft and career with confidence and resilience.
The Evolution Programme (EP) is an opportunity for published writers resident on the island of Ireland to avail of 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 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 event participation 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 three opportunities to published writers to teach on the Creative Writing undergraduate course as part of a paid internship. This unique EP opportunity was co-created with IWC Ambassador Mike McCormack and Dr. John Kenny, Director of the BA in English and Creative Writing as part of last year’s pilot, which provided an extraordinary experience for the selected writers. We are hugely grateful to IWC Ambassador Marian Keyes for her continuing support in partially sponsoring fees for the selected writers on the internship. 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. A writer who has secured a publishing deal with a recognised publisher and whose book is scheduled to be launched in spring/summer 2023 is eligible for this programme. Writers from all genres are invited to apply. Writers must be over the age of 18.
EDI dedicated places: We particularly encourage applications from Black, POC (person of colour), Traveller, Roma, LGBT+, disabled and working class writers, and those who consider themselves to be within the groups described in the EDI statement on our website. A minimum of three places will be reserved for writers who identify as belonging to one or more of the above categories.
Northern Irish writers: With dedicated ACNI funding we will reserve four places for professional writers residing in Northern Ireland or Northern Irish professional writers residing in the Republic of Ireland. We are also actively encouraging diverse professional NI writers to apply.
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: 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.
What is the timeline and format?
The timeline for this programme is six months from October 2022 to March 2023, with all EP writers completing their programme by the end of March.
This programme will be delivered both online and in-person.
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:
- Training: To give Evolution Programme (EP) writers opportunities to upskill professionally and creatively.
- One-to-One Support: to deepen and nourish EP writers’ creative practice on a bespoke basis.
- 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 1 Year|
|Collaborative forum/platform (monthly) 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 2 options from Table B and 2 options from Table C, a maximum of 4 options combined.
|TABLE B – Training & Performance Support||TABLE C – Creative or Teaching support|
|Access to Programmed IWC Courses
(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 in autumn 2022 (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.|
|Opportunity to mentor a writer under the guidance of an IWC mentor|
Criteria for Selection:
In the first instance, you must be resident on the island of Ireland and over 18 years of age. Next:
- Check whether you fit in with our professional member criteria.
- Confirm that you are published by a reputable publisher and can provide an ISBN.
- 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.
We will accept applications from a writer who has secured a deal with a recognised publisher, and whose book is scheduled for publication no later than July 2023. 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:
- Stated need and case made for the anticipated supports
- Eligibility and track record.
- Creative samples of work.
- (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 to Apply:
Please send the following in one attachment (Word doc or pdf) to email@example.com no later than Wednesday 3 August 2022 at 5pm, ensuring that you put Evolution Programme 2022 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.
Note: Please compile all relevant documentation into a single Word doc or PDF attachment. (Incorrect collation may result in ineligibility.)
Wednesday 3 August at 5pm.
No late applications will be considered. Applications will be acknowledged by email on receipt.
Please note: the Irish Writers Centre will be closed from Friday 22 July until Tuesday 2 August, if you have any pressing queries about your application, please let us know before that period.
We will award 10 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.
The Inaugural EP participating writers for the pilot phase in 2021-22 were:
Sheila Armstrong, Helen Blackhurst, Deirdre Cartmill, Kevin Curran, Sue Divin, Arnold Thomas Fanning, Olivia Fitzsimons, Michelle Gallen, Maeve Galvin, Melatu-Uche Okorie, Liz Quirke and Máire T. Robinson.
About the Irish Writers Centre:
As the leading support and development organisation for writers since 1991, the Irish Writers Centre carries out its work, online and in person, on an all island basis. We work with writers of all types and talents, and actively encourage writers from all communities to engage in creative writing. We provide many ways and means for them to develop their skill, advance their ambitions and join a vibrant and diverse community of people who share their passion and purpose.
We are also a membership organisation, always seeking new opportunities for members to grow as writers and to connect with each other through IWC programmes and supports.