August 1 – November 13, 2023

June 7, 2023 at 5:00pm

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The Irish Writers Centre in association with Dublin Book Festival is delighted to invite applications to the Foundation Programme, a bespoke four-month collaborative programme designed for six emerging and new writers, resident in the Dublin City Council area, as they launch their careers.

The Foundation Programme is specifically for writers at the beginning of their careers from backgrounds that are underrepresented in literature as described in the EDI statement on our website.

Providing a supporting environment to develop new writing, the six awardees of the programme will have access to a series of training and development supports, including one-on-one mentoring, writing workshops, an IWC creative writing workshop course and more!

Alongside these supports, the writers will immerse themselves and contribute to Dublin Book Festival, with the additional opportunity to perform their new writing at the festival.

IWC Strategy

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 underrepresented in literature.

Programme Outline

The Foundation Programme is a collaborative programme created by the Irish Writers Centre in association with Dublin Book Festival, designed to take six emerging writers through a mediated process of training and provide them with supports and the guidance of an experienced writer-mentor over a period of approximately four months.

Throughout the programme, the participating writers will be working on a short piece of writing (1,500 – 2,000 words or up to 200 words of poetry), with an end-goal of preparing and performing this short work as part of the Dublin Book Festival.

What applicants can expect from the programme:

  • Two workshops with the programme writer-mentor
  • A one-to-one session with the programme writer-mentor
  • A performance opportunity at Dublin Book Festival
  • Four workshops/clinics by industry professionals and/or the Irish Writers Centre/DBF
  • Participation in an Irish Writers Centre course.
  • Attend monthly online forums facilitated by the IWC, in keeping with the ethos of peer learning and collaboration espoused by the Foundation Programme. Participants will also be encouraged to meet in between these sessions.

All applicants are asked to confirm their understanding of the collaborative ethos of the programme and that their eligibility is subject to agreeing to be an active participant throughout the whole programme, including attendance at every monthly meeting.


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.

When and where will it take place?

The programme, in the main, will take place in person in the office of the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin City, and will begin in August and run through to November 2023. It will culminate with a performance during the Dublin Book Festival.

Participants will be offered an IWC creative writing course in the duration of the programme. Clinics and mentoring sessions will be arranged with the group or individuals. Monthly in-person forum meetings are likely to be on the first Monday of each month at 1.00pm-2.00pm.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

This programme is open exclusively to writers over the age of 18 who are resident in the Dublin City Council area*. It is specifically for writers at the beginning of their careers from backgrounds underrepresented in literature as described in our EDI statement.

As the title suggests, this programme is for writers in the early stage of their writing careers and have aspirations to continue their trajectory towards publication and a professional career. We welcome applications from writers of all genres.

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 to building a career as a writer: Places on this programme will be awarded to applications 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 in your work to date.

*Ballymun, Finglas, Artane, Whitehall, Clontarf, Donaghmede, Cabra, Glasnevin, North Inner City, Kimmage, Rathmines, Pembroke, South East Inner City, Ballyfermot, Drimnagh, South West Inner City

How to Apply

We ask that all applicants apply through our online application form by 5.00pm on Wednesday 7 June, 2023. The form includes questions about your work to-date and what you hope to gain from participation in the Foundation Programme. We also encourage you to upload a CV. This is optional and is solely a way for us to get to know you better. The CV will not form part of the selection process for the programme.

The IWC is not in a position to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

If you have any difficulties accessing this link or any questions about the programme, please contact us at

The Foundation Programme 2023 is kindly funded and supported by Dublin City Council, Dublin Book Festival and Marian Keyes.

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