Writing NSW and Text Publishing present the Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship. The mentorship is awarded annually to an unpublished Indigenous writer who has made substantial progress on a work of fiction or non-fiction. The intention of the program is to support the writer to develop their manuscript and to facilitate a pathway to publication.
Applications open Monday 21 September 2020. Applications close midnight (AEST) Monday 23 November 2020.
This year Writing NSW welcomes Booktopia as an additional sponsor of the Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship.
The program will pair an emerging Indigenous writer from anywhere in Australia with a senior Indigenous writer for a structured year-long mentorship. The writer will receive 20 hours of mentorship over the following year, including feedback on their work in progress and general advice on writing and developing a publishing career. If possible, an opportunity to meet with the mentor face to face will be provided. The writer will also receive editorial feedback and manuscript development from Text Publishing and access to Writing NSW professional development services.
For 2021 the runner-up will also receive 20 hours of mentorship from a senior Indigenous writer thanks to a private donation.
At the conclusion of the mentorship, Text Publishing will have the exclusive first right to consider the winning manuscript for publication, under terms to be negotiated with the writer.
Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must have made substantial progress on a manuscript, which they intend to complete (refer to submission requirements). Applicants must not previously have had a full-length work of fiction or non-fiction professionally published.
Submissions must be either a work of fiction (including short story collections) or narrative non-fiction for adult, kids (middle grade), or young adult. Please note that poetry, plays, picture books, and practical non-fiction are ineligible.
Submissions will be judged by Tony Birch, best-selling author and winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, in consultation with representatives from Text Publishing and Writing NSW. Tony Birch said:
‘It is such an honour to be involved in this project. The relationship between a mentor and young writer is an invaluable experience for all involved.’
Tara June Winch, inaugural Boundless judge and mentor said:
‘The opportunity to work with a master is not only significant for the emerging writer, but also for the mentoring author. The process they undergo is as old and sacred as our culture, the handing down of the skills and tools needed to one day be passed down again and again. Being able to teach and to learn in such a close and guided fellowship is a once in a career moment.’
Recipient of the 2020 mentorship, John Morrissey said:
‘Since I received the Boundless Mentorship I have had a new sense of excitement and urgency about my writing. Knowing that I have the support of the Mentorship has encouraged me to take more risks in my work and has given me a strong sense of direction. I look forward to working with Kim Scott to polish and improve my stories. He is a writer I greatly admire and this is a unique opportunity I would never otherwise have had access to.’
Recipient of the inaugural 2019 mentorship, Allanah Hunt said:
‘Receiving the Boundless mentorship has not only made my novel a better one, but has made me a better writer overall. This mentorship has been priceless in terms of experience and growth. My biggest thanks to Text Publishing, Writing NSW and Tara June Winch for this wonderful opportunity that has lived up to everything I hoped it would be and more! I cannot wait to continue my writing career with the new knowledge I’ve been so generously given.’
The mentorship is open to emerging Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers who are permanent residents of Australia. Applicants must be over the age of 18. Confirmation of Indigenous status may be required.
At the end of the 12-month mentorship, both the writer and mentor are invited to attend Boundless, a festival for diverse writers, held in Sydney biennially.
Writing NSW acknowledges the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) for their support of this program.
We thank Booktopia for their ongoing sponsorship of the Boundless Mentorship.
We thank Ashley Kalagian Blunt and Steve Blunt for their generous donation to support the additional mentorship for the 2021 runner-up.
For enquiries, email info[at]writingnsw.org.au
For more information and submissions, visit: https://writingnsw.org.au/support/funding-opportunities/boundless-indigenous-mentorship-program/