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, or creative non-fiction.

The scheme is free to apply for but highly competitive. 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.

Since the first mentoring scheme was launched, 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.  Of the 23 writers who have been awarded yearlong mentoring relationships, 90% have progressed to have their work subsequently published, matched with an agent or have their plays or shows produced and many have cited the Mentoring Scheme as being a pivotal step on their journey towards publication.


The Writing East Midlands Mentoring Scheme comprises of:

  • The opportunity for 3 writers a year to receive extended mentoring sessions and critiques on their work in progress with a matched established writer.
  • 5 mentoring meetings with an established writer, to be taken over the time period of 6 months to a year, either via Skype or face-to-face.
  • A year’s membership to the Society of Authors.
  • Career development sessions with Writing East Midlands
  • Access to tailored professional development workshops through the Writing East Midlands, Routes to Writing scheme.
  • A free place to the Writing East Midlands, Writers’ Conference

The Mentoring Scheme is free for writers, and gifts successful mentees with up to £2000 free support to their writing goals.

  • A further 15 applicants who have not been successful to interview stage, but have shown particular promise will receive a free critique on their creative work submitted to for the application.


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

Details of the scheme will be on this site in Summer 2020.

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.

Applications should include a sample of the work in question of up to 1500 consecutive words and a short one page synopsis. Please submit the beginning of your piece if you are submitting a novel. You can also submit a number of videos, or links to videos, to a maximum of 15 minutes, if you would like to submit spoken word. Please note your work will only be considered if it is submitted via this process. Please submit the work and synopsis on one document and please do not send additional attachments.

For poetry please submit 6 poems, to a maximum of 60 lines per poem. Please submit all poems on one word document.

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.  Please note, if you are applying with a novel or extended piece of creative non fiction, we require that the work has been through at least one complete draft before you apply.

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 spoken word.

This scheme is open to submissions of prose, poetry, spoken word, and creative non-fiction (including life-writing).

This scheme is not suitable for applicants who are currently in education studying towards a creative writing related qualification.

Applicants must be over 18 years of age. 

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

  • The literary and artistic 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.

Photo credits include: Garry Martin credit: Sue Lewis-Blake,  Rod Maddocks credit: David Parry