Deadline: (Extended)
May 22, 2024 at 11:59pm

Apply Here

Please note that this programme takes place over the months of June - November.

The Irish Writers Centre in association with Dublin Book Festival is delighted to invite applications to the Foundation Programme, a collaborative programme designed for six emerging writers who are resident in the Dublin City Council area.

In keeping with goals 2 and 3 of our 2022-2026 strategy, the Irish Writers Centre seeks to enhance opportunities for people across all communities to explore and participate in creative writing, and in particular, aim to engage with writers from backgrounds that are typically underrepresented in literature.

Who is it for?

This programme is open exclusively to writers over the age of 18 who are:

  • Resident in the Dublin City Council area (Ballymun, Finglas, Artane, Whitehall, Clontarf, Donaghmede, Cabra, Glasnevin, North Inner City, Kimmage, Rathmines, Pembroke, South East Inner City, Ballyfermot, Drimnagh and South West Inner City)
  • 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 achievements.
  • From a background typically underrepresented in the arts in Ireland.*

*We are taking steps to promote equality of opportunity 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. This programme is specifically for writers from backgrounds typically underrepresented in the arts in Ireland: Minority Ethnic, Black or Person of Colour, D/deaf, neurodiverse or disabled, LGBTQIA+, Member of the Travelling Community, Roma and Unwaged / Low-Income. 

Programme Outline

The Foundation Programme has two aims:

  1. Create a learning community who will work together to grow into their careers as writers, looking to each other as supportive peers on their respective journeys
  2. Equip participants with the tools and knowledge needed to launch their writing careers

The Foundation Programme is a collaborative programme created by the Irish Writers Centre, designed to take six emerging writers through a mediated process of training and provide them with supports.

This programme includes:

  • A one-to-one session with the programme writer-mentor. After being chosen for the programme, participating writers will submit a short piece of writing to the mentor for creative feedback. This piece of writing can be up to 3,000 words max. or up to five poems, no more than 200 lines in total. It can be of any genre or form and doesn’t have to be a completed or published piece (i.e. it can be part of a larger work)
  • A place on an Irish Writers Centre creative writing course
  • Foundation Day: An in-person day of talks by industry professionals at the Irish Writers Centre (located on Parnell Square, Dublin 1)
  • Peer support: We encourage participating writers to create a WhatsApp group, or similar, in order to support each other during the programme and to foster a community; we also encourage participants to meet in our building at the Irish Writers Centre during the programme
  • Feedback: We always strive to make our programmes better, and so we ask participants to provide valuable feedback for us to learn more about how you found the experience; this will be via an online form that we will send out when the programme has finished
  • A performance opportunity at Dublin Book Festival in November 2024

When and where will it take place?

This programme will take place in-person at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin City.

Key dates:

Monday 10 June: Deadline for submitting work-in-progress for mentoring session

Saturday 22 June: Foundation Day (in the IWC building, approximately 10.00am-4.30pm)

July: Your one-hour mentoring session will take place during this month (in-person in the IWC building or online)

September: Deadline for choosing an IWC creative writing course

Early-mid November: Performance at Dublin Book Festival

For the specific dates above, participants must confirm their availability and attendance for these dates in their cover letter. Unavailability will result in an ineligible application.Shape 


Programme mentor/writer: Colm Keegan

Colm Keegan is an award winning writer and poet from Dublin. He judges the Waterford Poetry Prize and was guest editor of Poetry Ireland Review in 2022. His debut collection “Don’t Go There” was released to critical acclaim and his latest collection “Randomer” is available from Salmon poetry. In 2023 he developed Ireland Is, a spoken word roadshow with Poetry Ireland and Sofft Productions, which toured the island of Ireland.

His first full-length play “For Saoirse” was staged in Axis Theatre and shortlisted for the Fishamble New Writing award and his short play “Something Worth Saying,” commissioned for the Abbey Theatre and starring Owen O’ Roe, was called ‘exquisite and devastating’ by reviewer Emer O’ Kelly.

He has developed numerous creative writing projects for schools & organisations across the country including Writing Home, an initiative he developed in partnership with Kilkenny County Council, to support homeless service users through the pandemic, which won a LAMA award for best education initiative.

He was a co-founder of Lingo, Ireland’s first Spoken Word festival and has been awarded several residencies including the LexIcon, Ireland’s largest public library. He is currently an Artist in Residence with Maynooth University.

He also coordinates Deadly Poets Society, an exchange project between poets and academics in Ireland and Australia.

How to Apply

We ask that all applicants apply via Submittable form by midnight on Wednesday 22 May, 2024

We will ask you to submit the following into one .PDF or .doc/.docx document:

A short cover letter (approx. 1 page) including home address and Eircode/postcode.

In your cover letter, please include the following:

  • Why would you like to be selected for the Foundation Programme?
  • How will this opportunity benefit your writing practice? (you may wish to write about the supports listed in the programme outline above e.g. mentoring, Foundation Day, performing at DBF, etc.)

Curriculum Vitae (max. two A4 pages)

Two samples of work (max. 500 words each or up to two poems)

What is 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. If you don’t receive a confirmation of receipt, please contact us to check if your application has gone through.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Participants will be selected on the basis of:

  • Intent: Your reasons for wanting to participate in this programme will form a key part of the selection process. Be sure to tell us how you feel taking part in the Foundation Programme will help you to move forward with your work.
  • Demonstrated commitment: Places on this programme will be awarded to writers who are taking steps to build a professional writing career. We ask that you tell us what you have already done to develop your creative practice or engage with Ireland’s literary community to date. It is not essential for applicants to have been published to be eligible.
  • Work samples: Please note that these samples do not need to have been published, can be of any genre or form, and should be 500 words max. each or up to two poems. This work does not need to be the piece that you submit for feedback from the writer-mentor.

Do you have a question about the programme? please contact us at

Due to the volume of applicants we are not able to give individual feedback to applicants, unless they have been interviewed, depending on the scheme. This policy extends across all our calls in the interests of equity and transparency, and because, as a small team, we don’t have the capacity to give individual responses.

The Foundation Programme 2024 is kindly funded by Dublin City Council and supported by Dublin Book Festival.

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