In 2009, we opened the doors to our Writer Mentoring Scheme across the East Midlands. The scheme matches successful applicants with sympathetic professional writers who will guide them through their writing projects, whether that’s a novel, collection of poems or stories, spoken word, creative non-fiction, or scripts for radio, stage and screen.

“Each mentoring session left me feeling more confident, and more enthusiastic about my ideas… I would never have been able to move my writing forward in this way without the mentorship.” – Anna Lewis (working with Jacob Ross 2016)

We had 29 submissions in that first year. Since then we’ve received applications from hundreds of talented writers in our region, and helped many of them to develop their writing careers and learn more about the industry. The scheme is free to apply for but highly competitive, and we’re able to award mentoring places to three writers each year.  As well as these places, we also provide career development workshops, taught by the brilliant Cathy Grindrod, to the shortlisted writers. We’re also very lucky to be able to offer a number of short critiques through our Writing School tutors to applicants who show promise in their work but haven’t been shortlisted. The deadline for this round of applications is 14 October.

If you’re an emerging writer, or an established writer who’s looking to work in a different genre or discipline, the mentoring scheme might be the ideal opportunity for you to get the guidance you need.


We look to find the best match for the writers, and our mentors have included Booker Prize shortlisted novelist Jon McGregor and best-selling writers Niki Valentine, Jacob Ross, Anne Zouroudi and Patricia Duncker.



We’re always delighted to learn about and share the successes of the writers who’ve benefited from mentoring and most of them (including Jamie Mollart, Lisa Drakeford, Garry Martin, Rod Maddocks, Lydia Towsey, Dan Powell and many more) have gone on to be taken on by publishers including Sandstone, Chicken House, Five Leaves, Colley Books and Damnation Books, or produced spoken word shows with companies such as Apples & Snakes and Renaissance One.

How to Apply

The scheme will open again in May 2018, please check back for further details. 

Submission Guidelines

Our mentoring scheme offers support and advice to 3 writers each year who, in our view, are able to demonstrate great promise and commitment. The scheme matches the selected writers to sympathetic, established, professional writers.

These relationships will be for an agreed periods of time, between 6 – 12 months, and will focus on developing the work of writers who have reached a critical point, enabling them to step beyond the private process of writing and onto new levels. Ultimately, the scheme aims to help writers to develop their work to a publishable standard.

We will require writers to develop a specific piece of work-in-progress. The mentor will offer constructive criticism and support in a number of sessions to help take the work forward.

All shortlisted applicants will be required to attend a Creative Development Planning workshop (free of charge) to identify further areas of focus.

This scheme would best suit emerging writers able to display real commitment. The mentoring scheme is also available for established writers in one form who are looking to develop their writing in different forms.

“ In my opinion this mentoring scheme offered by WEM is priceless. I know I am extremely lucky to have had the experience, and I aim to use everything that I have learnt for my next step.” – Lisa Drakeford (who completed the mentoring scheme with Maxine Linnell in 2013).


Writers must be resident in the East Midlands at the time of application and who will continue to live in the region throughout the mentoring period.

Writers will not be accepted for the service more than once in any three-year period.

The scheme will be open to published or unpublished writers.

This scheme is open to submissions of prose, poetry, creative non-fiction (including life-writing) and scripts for radio, stage and screen.

Writing East Midlands decisions will be based on a balance of factors:

  • The literary quality of the work submitted
  • The probability of publication by a bona fide publisher (Preference will therefore be shown to writers who are able to provide evidence of genuine publisher or agent interest in their work.)
  • The need to encourage a range and diversity of new writing from the East Midlands

The scheme will open again in May 2018. Details of the closing dates will be announced at that time.

To Apply

Applications should be submitted via this web form, which contains instructions for what samples of work etc. are needed.

Shortlisted applicants will be required to attend a Creative Professional Development workshop (date and location to be confirmed). Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview and, should the applicant be successful, a mentor will be matched with an established writer. Other areas where Writing East Midlands can support the unsuccessful shortlisted applicants will be identified during the selection process.

The Writing East Midlands Mentoring Scheme is very popular and continues to attract an increasingly high number of submissions each year. Please note that the selection panel’s decision is final and the panel reserves the right not to enter into further correspondence about its decisions.

Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to offer feedback on submissions. However, in light of the growing popularity of the scheme, we’re pleased to offer a limited number of short critiques from one of our Writing School East Midlands tutors to applicants who show particular promise, but who have not been shortlisted for the mentoring scheme at this time.
We reserve the right to return work which would be unlikely at this stage to benefit from the Mentoring Scheme. We will only put forward writers in the East Midlands.
Photo credits include: Garry Martin credit: Sue Lewis-Blake,  Rod Maddocks credit: David Parry